Soon after taking office, Secretary of State John Husted started talking about the importance of “uniformity” in Ohio’s election process. By this, Husted of course meant the elimination of early voting on the days most preferred by Democratic voters – especially African American voters in large counties – during an important presidential election year.
In case there was any reason why Husted and his fellow Republicans were trying to keep Ohioans from voting on the last three days before the elections Republican Doug Preisse made it clear when he admitted the goal of limiting early voting hours was to disenfranchise black voters: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine,”
Husted and AG Mike DeWine actually wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars defending the unfair restrictions on early voting, taking the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they lost for a third time.
After spending the weeks leading up the 2012 presidential election issuing directives telling Boards of Elections that they HAD to have uniform hours and they absolutely COULD NOT be open on weekends or on the three days leading up to the election, going so far as to fire members of the Montgomery County BOE for trying to have weekend voting hours, Husted seems to have suddenly abandoned his whole “uniformity” mission.
As far as we can tell, no directive was issued by Husted for this Wednesday’s election.
A letter sent yesterday to Husted by State Rep Kathleen Clyde points out that at least five counties are not allowing in-person voting on Monday before the May 7th primary, while offering a seemingly random mix of hours on the Saturday (today) and Sunday before. Here is Franklin County, for example, the BOE was open from 8:00 am – 12:00 noon today – but they won’t be open tomorrow or Monday.
According to Clyde, the lack of a directive requiring BOEs to be open for in-person voting “is in violation of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision” that forced forced Husted to open up early voting last November.
“I request that you immediately contact all county boards and inform them of their duty to allow early in-person voting on Monday, May 6th, wrote Clyde. “As well as their option to allow voting on Saturday, May 4th or Sunday, May 5th if necessary.”
It appears Husted is only interested in “uniformity” when doing so might help give Republicans an edge in a big presidential election year.