Political Veterans Talk About 'Bridging The Divide'

No fault absentee voting – commonly called early voting – is underway in Ohio, which is one of 32 states and the District of Columbia where voters don’t have to wait till election day to cast their ballots. Secretary of State Jon Husted previews early voting on the eve of its start, saying Ohio's voting rolls are in the best shape they've ever been. Several outside groups have gotten involved in helping protect the rights of all registered voters to cast ballots. One of those groups the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, as the organization’s Sonia Gill explains.

The push to get voters to the polls started before dawn on Tuesday, as Democrats camped out outside several early voting sites in Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Franklin County. Meanwhile, Republicans weren’t standing in line to vote in big numbers for the start of early voting, but the party’s volunteers were still working on their supporters on the phone banks. Ohio state director for Romney for Preisdent Scott Jennings talks about the campaign’s strategy on the first day of early voting. Statistics show most Republicans vote early by mail, and Democrats vote early in person. So now the start of early voting has gone by, Democrats are back on in the party offices too, as Ohio coordinated campaign director for Obama for America Liz Brown explains.

In most counties, voters will go to their regular board of elections offices to cast ballots if they don’t want to mail them in. But in a handful of counties, the boards have set up early voting centers. Ben Piscitelli at Franklin County's Board of Elections talks about needing the space, and voters talk about casting ballots on the first day. This is the so-called golden week, when voters can register and vote on the same day. That goes through Tuesday. About 30 percent of voters cast ballots early in the presidential election of 2008, and board of elections breakdowns show more Democrats voted early in person, while more Republicans voted early by mail.

One of the best things about election season is the great conversations that result from all the politicking in Ohio and elsewhere – and often those discussions bring together some people with well-known names and impressive resumes. That was the case last week at the Ohio Historical Society, where a panel was convened to take on this title: “Bridging the Divide – An Adult Conversation About Ohio Politics, For A Change”. The panel was moderated by Ann Fisher of WOSU, who had the enviable job of picking the brains of some political heavy hitters: Thomas Suddes, Ohio University professor and editorial board member of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Republican former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, former Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov. and current State Senator Charleta Tavares of Columbus, Columbus-based Republican campaign consultant Gene Pierce, and Jonathan Miller, former treasurer of Kentucky and co-founder of No Labels, a group claiming a half a million Democratic, Republican and independent politicians and pundits that’s pushing several ways that it says will make Washington work.

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