Voting rights advocates and Ohio’s top election official have settled a lawsuit over controversial cuts to the pivotal presidential state’s early voting period. The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year’s cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day. It also ensures that all counties will have the same voting schedule — something Husted had named as a priority and that voting rights advocates too say will reduce confusion. Both sides called it a win.
“This agreement is a victory for Ohio voters,” said Husted. “With the issues that accompany the 2016 presidential election drawing nearer it is important that we resolve these lingering questions now. Ohio has been and will remain a state where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights project, also considered it to be a move in the right direction. “Thousands of Ohioans rely on early voting opportunities as their only chance to cast a ballot in an election,” Ho said. “This is a victory for all those who know that a healthy democracy depends on the participation of its people.”
But the elimination of same-day voter registration is a setback to ballot access in Ohio. In 2012, more than 90,000 Ohioans voted during that period, according to the ACLU’s complaint.* But it may be outweighed by the restored Sunday and evening hours. According to an expert analysis presented during the court fight over the cuts, only 4,211 of those 90,000 people who voted during Golden Week also registered during that time. The rest were already registered. Meanwhile, nearly 30,000 people voted on the final Sunday of early voting.
Full Article: Settlement reverses some cuts to Ohio early voting | MSNBC.