Across Ohio, voters and boards of elections alike have been protesting a decision by the secretary of state to set statewide uniform early voting hours for the upcoming election.
Washington County's elections board acknowledges a lot of people took advantage of Saturday early voting hours in past elections; hours which, as a result of the secretary of state's decision, will not be available to them this fall.
"Even before the law changed and we had to shut it off at 6 P.M. the Friday before the election, our board decided to move it back one week," recalls Director Peggy Byers. "In March, we thought we voted about 300 people that Saturday morning, so it does serve an audience."
County boards which had set their own hours are now challenging the state decision, as is Ohio's Democratic party. It's believed minorities and young people are those affected the most by the elimination of weekend hours. This will be the first Ohio election where absentee ballot applications will be mailed to everyone.
"We believe the mailing of the absentee applications to everyone will drum up some traffic," Byers says. "Those will be mail-in, and give us a chance to spread out our work. But we believe it's going to increase the traffic for November."
West Virginia is not affected by the dispute. Wood County's Saturday early voting is set for October 27th and November third, the two Saturdays before the November sixth election.
In Washington County, there are contested races for the sheriff, county commission and common pleas judge, as well as a levy and bond issue for the Warren Local Schools and a levy for the county's children's services board.