Voting should be fair and accessible. Being able to cast your vote early, instead of waiting in long lines, is a good thing—no matter who you’re voting for. But apparently Republican lawmakers in Ohio disagree.
In fact, they’ve tried repeatedly to restrict the state’s early voting window.
Why? Sadly, it could be election year politics. Early voting reforms in Ohio helped fix Election Day lines—with waits of up to seven hours—that plagued heavily Democratic precincts in the 2004 election. The reforms have been hugely popular. Now, for this election, the Republicans are trying to trim them back.
We’re taking action.
Bob Bauer, general counsel to Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee laid out the case last week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“A decade after enactment of the 2002 Help America Vote Act, many state legislatures under Republican political leadership have chosen a different course for voters: They offer little help, while imposing a host of restrictions under the claim of fighting ‘fraud.’ But these laws do not stop at the enactment of ID requirements; they include limitations on voter registration, on the information that poll workers may supply to voters looking to locate their correct polling places — and on early voting.
“An example of these attacks on early voting has occurred in the state of Ohio, and it has resulted in the lawsuit brought in federal district court by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party. We are challenging the state legislature’s action denying the vast majority of Ohio voters any access to in-person early voting during the last three days before the election. And this action was taken entirely arbitrarily, without justification, unaccountably shutting down this avenue of participation for thousands of voters.”
If you’re an Ohio voter, or have friends or family in Ohio, here’s what you need to know:
- You can still vote early in Ohio, starting on October 2nd 2012.
- You’ve got until October 9th, 2012 to register to vote, or update your current registration.
- You can both register AND vote in person at your county board of elections from October 2nd – October 9th.
As the law stands right now, early voting in Ohio ends for many voters on Friday, November 2nd. We’re working to make sure that all Ohio voters once again have the chance to participate in the last three days of early voting through Monday, November 5th.
You can stay up to date on our progress, or sign up to get alerts on any major changes to the law at gottavote.org/OH.
If you have legal experience, and would like to get involved, join the Victory Counsel.