Supporters say reform of Ohio’s election laws is overdue. But opponents say a series of voting bills being voted on at the statehouse are designed solely to help Republican incumbents. “It really bothers me that we are making it more difficult to vote and more difficult to have your vote counted,” said Peg Rosenthal from the League of Women Voters. “A lot of people work six days a week, or hold down several jobs. They’re objecting to Sunday voting when that’s the only day some people have available.” The Ohio House is expected to vote next week on a bill that will end “Golden Week” – the period when a person can register and vote on the same day. It will also cut early voting from 35 to 29 days. “If they wanted to restrict the number of days, why aren’t they at the same time talking about expanding the number of hours just before election day,” said Rosenthal. “You could even go back and revisit the question of how many early voting locations you have for in-person voting.”
Supporters say Ohio’s early voting period is too long and opens up a greater possibility of voter fraud. “The extra week was never meant to be an opportunity to register and vote on the same day,” said Chris Long of the Ohio Christian Alliance. “That was never the intent of the legislature and it lead to confusion at Boards of election. There is no time to vet these people and check on whether they are Ohio residents or not.”
At a House hearing today, several lawmakers said Secretary of State Jon Husted should appear before their committee to offer his suggestions on the bills.
But Husted tells 10TV that too much partisanship is driving the debate at the statehouse.