Someday, after they figure out how to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate, Republicans will probably be embarrassed by how much time they have spent making it harder for Americans to vote. For now, though, the beat just goes on. In a misguided effort to hold on to power despite an ever-shrinking base of older white voters, Republican lawmakers around the country continue to impose all sorts of barriers to the ballot box. One of the most egregious examples is happening in Ohio, a critical swing state in presidential elections and the scene of many recent disenfranchisement attempts.
In February, state legislators quickly pushed through a law removing the first week of Ohio’s 35-day early-voting period — which was also the only week that permitted same-day registration. Days later, Ohio’s secretary of state, Jon Husted, issued a directive further cutting back on early voting by eliminating voting during evening hours, on Sundays, and on the Monday before Election Day. Previously, county election boards had the power to set polling hours based on local needs, which vary widely — one rural county has just 13,000 residents, while more than 1.2 million live in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland.
The effect of the cuts will be felt especially by vulnerable populations in the bigger cities, who also tend to vote Democratic. Minority citizens vote early at twice the rate of whites, while lower-income and less-educated voters often cast ballots on weekends and evenings because they are often unable to take time off work. During the 2012 presidential election, 157,000 Ohioans — making up more than a quarter of all early in-person voters — voted during the days and hours that have now been cut, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which last month sued the state over the new restrictions.
Full Article: More Voting Games in Ohio – NYTimes.com.