The Secretary of State addressed Ohio’s elections officials Wednesday to make some big announcements. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, that includes a directive to make sure all voters have the same amount of access to the polls.
Secretary of State Jon Husted wants uniform standards for early voting this spring, and has issued a directive setting the hours of operation for all 88 county boards of elections in the weeks leading up to the May primary election.
Husted made the announcement while addressing the Ohio Association of Election Officials' winter conference. He says the uniform hours are in the interest of fairness.
“Our priority should be to give all voters equal access to their ballots, no matter where they live, to provide adequate time to accommodate an increasingly busy electorate and to reduce the chance of long lines on election day," Husted said.
Husted says he had to step in and set the hours after the Ohio General Assembly ignored his repeated calls for legislation to handle the issue.
The schedule is basically Monday through Friday business hours, with one Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, and one Monday with evening hours. This isn’t enough to some people including Peg Rosenfield with the Ohio League of Women Voters.
“I think it ought to be convenient for voters," Rosenfield said. "They shouldn’t have to choose whether I'm going to vote -- I may not make it Election Day. We really do believe that everybody should vote and their vote should be counted. We really really do believe that and don’t discourage people by making it harder.”
Husted also told the conference that he plans to send absentee ballot applications to all Ohio voters for the 2014 General Election, just like he did for November’s vote.