The Ohio Conference of the NAACP is asking a federal judge to expand early voting by restoring “ golden week” and allowing in-person ballots to be cast on more Sundays and during evening hours. Meanwhile, a coalition led by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus said yesterday that it will continue its signature-gathering efforts to get an Ohio Voter Bill of Rights before voters, but it will not make the 2014 ballot. The NAACP lawsuit was filed with the same federal judge who two weeks ago required Secretary of State Jon Husted to implement early voting on the three days before Election Day. But the lawsuit filed this week with U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus says that does not go far enough to ensure access to the ballot.
After Economus’ latest ruling, Husted set in-person voting on the final three days before the election, including 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Husted had previously called for early voting this year on the final two Saturdays before Election Day but not the final Sunday and Monday.
Husted’s directive “restored just 10 hours of early voting, including four hours on one Sunday,” said the lawsuit, filed by the NAACP with help from attorneys with the ACLU of Ohio.
“But the impact on minorities and low-income voters will be at least as great as in 2012, as the remaining cutbacks still appear designed to ensure that only those who can afford to take unpaid time off of work or easily make child-care arrangements can cast a ballot in person during the early-voting period.”