Elected officials, ministers and labor leaders are railing against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision last week not to offer evening and weekend voting hours in Cuyahoga County leading up to the November election. Standing Monday on the steps of the county Board of Elections, U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge said Husted and the two Republican board of election members should be ashamed for limiting voting access that has been offered to voters in four of the past five years. Joined by dozens of other Democrats, she said the move would disenfranchise elderly, disabled and working class voters — especially those in poor and minority neighborhoods — and “shave points” in a possibly tight election in a swing state. “This isn’t about finances,” Fudge, of Warrensville Heights said. “This is about politics.” “We are not going to allow them to take our rights sitting down.”
State Senator Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat, called the decision a blow to civil rights. “History is repeating itself in a very ugly way,” Turner said. “Jim Crow has been resurrected. He is making repeat performances in portions of the South and he has packed his bags and is headed north.”
Based on voting in previous elections, Turner estimated that the curtailing of weekend and evening voting hours in addition to the elimination of voting in the three days before election day could discourage more than 29,000 voters. Husted’s decision Friday was made after the two Republican and two Democratic members of the county election board had deadlocked along party lines earlier in the week on a vote to extend voting hours.