The Republican secretary of state in Ohio said today that he’ll undertake the “precedent-setting move” of establishing uniform voting hours for all precincts in the critical swing state, responding to partisan concerns that different early-voting hours were leaving some groups disenfranchised.
Jon Husted noted on CNN, though, that absentee ballots don’t have daily business hours. “You can start voting 35 days before the election either by mail or in person,” he said. “Every single voter receives an absentee ballot request, which they can return and receive an absentee ballot and have over 750 hours to vote without ever leaving their homes.”
The disparities in the availability of early-voting stations on weekends and outside of business hours, though, has drawn fire from Democrats including state Sen. Nina Turner. “Even Ray Charles could see what is going on here,” she said on CNN yesterday. “Flat-out voter suppression in Democratic areas. And also areas that are predominantly African-American.”
Husted said he spent last night talking to elections officials “to try to develop some consensus about establishing uniform hours statewide.”
He said he expects the voting hours to be resolved “long before October 2.”
“I’m talking with Democrat and Republican local elections officials to make sure that we are making sound choices that treat the largest counties and the smallest counties with equal consideration so that everybody will have a standard set of rules and that we can move on to the candidates and their ideas and not this political hysteria surrounding hours of voting and the rules, because it’s easy to vote in Ohio,” Husted said.