UPDATE: Ohio Elections Chief Issues New Early Voting Hours

By: WTAP News, The Associated Press Email
By: WTAP News, The Associated Press Email
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UPDATE 9/15/2014 4:45 PM

After a court fight about early voting hours between the Ohio secretary of state and a federal judge, those hours are now extended.

Secretery of State John Husted released an expanded early voting schedule after a federal judge blocked an Ohio law that cut the hours.

Secretary Husted was ordered to set additional early voting times and early voting to begin September 30th instead of October 7th.

Including evening hours, the two weekends before the November 4th election will include early voting times as well.

"There's quite a few days there. About 16 or 17 straight days of available absentee voting per this ruling for voting in Ohio," says Washington County Board of Elections Director Tara Hupp.

The state is seeking to appeal this ruling, so based on that decision, voting hours could still change.

The voter registration deadline is October 6th.

Contact the Washington County Board of Elections with any questions.


UPDATE 9/5/2014 5:35 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Attorneys for the state of Ohio will appeal a federal judge's order that blocks two measures restricting early voting in the presidential battleground.

The state's attorneys on Friday filed their notice of appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The state will explain its reasons in a later court filing.

Secretary of State Jon Husted said the decision could lead to different voting rules across counties.

The ruling came Thursday in a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups, including the Ohio chapters of the NAACP and ACLU.

U.S. District Judge Peter Economus blocked an Ohio law that trims early voting, ordering Husted to set an expanded voting schedule. Economus barred Husted from preventing local elections boards from adopting additional early voting hours beyond his order.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 9/4/2014 12:55 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A federal judge blocked an Ohio law trimming early voting and ordered the swing state's elections chief to set an expanded voting schedule.

The ruling Thursday from U.S. District Judge Peter Economus comes in a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups and others challenging two early-voting measures.

One is a directive from Secretary of State Jon Husted setting uniform voting times that restricted weekend and evening hours. Another is a law that eliminates so-called "golden week" - when people could both register to vote and cast ballots.

The judge sided with groups that claimed the changes hurt low-income and black voters disproportionately. The state argued the organizations couldn't prove the rules illegally place an undue burden on voters.

Under the judge's order, early voting would begin Sept. 30.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE 6/17/2014 7:30 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's elections chief issued new early voting hours for the final days before Election Day following a federal judge's order last week.

Voters in the battleground state will get a total of 18 hours to vote in person on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before presidential primaries and presidential and gubernatorial general elections.

Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO'-sted) on Tuesday directed Ohio's 88 county elections boards to be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday for the major contests.

Husted also set hours on the final days for municipal, primary and special elections.

His directive follows a federal ruling in a 2012 lawsuit filed by President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and Democrats.

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Following a federal judge's order Ohio's elections chief is now required to set voting hours for the three days before the election.

Secretary of State Jon Husted isn't fighting the court ruling, instead keeping with his plan for all voters to have the same opportunity regardless of where they live.

That was why those hours were not part of his early voting plan, since some counties could and others couldn't.

Now all 88 boards of election will accept early in person voting the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election.

"Potentially affect some overtime or flex time and not just our county - any of the counties. Also we may have to bring in more staff," says Washington County Board of Elections Director Tara Hupp.

Hupp says the problem comes with so many hours and less voters.

She adds even with the changes over the years their office has not seen a drastic increase in voters.


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