The Republican head of the Ohio House says he’s open to considering legislation setting hours for early voting in state law, rather than leaving it to the secretary of state or court action to determine when Ohioans can cast ballots in person before Election Day. “We’re thinking about it, very definitely,” Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) told reporters following an event at the Statehouse this past week. Statehouse Republicans moved a series of election law changes over the current session but have not dealt with the voting hours issue. Absent action, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted initially adopted an early voting schedule for the November general election that included mostly weekday polling, a plan he said had the backing of bipartisan county elections officials. A federal judge’s order, however, prompted Husted to open the polls over two additional days — the Sunday and Monday before Election Day, which were not part of his original directive.
Husted responded by setting early voting for the coming general election at 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on the final two Saturdays before Election Day, plus 1-5 p.m. on the final Sunday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on the final Monday.
Those hours will be in place for presidential primary elections and gubernatorial general elections, with slightly different hours on a couple of days for presidential general elections, regular municipal elections, other primaries and special elections.
Asked about the situation this week, Batchelder said he favored lawmakers taking up the issue.
“I would want to make sure that I had input from a number of different groups,” including county elections officials, Batchelder said.