Voting Rights

Hamilton County Proposes Moving Early Voting to the Suburbs


Update 08.04.14: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted cast a tie-breaking vote allowing the Hamilton County Board of Elections (BOE) to move their operations to suburban Mount Airy. With this tie-breaking vote, Husted allows the BOE to move early voting from its current downtown location; however, he urged the board to develop a compromise on where to hold early, in-person voting. The ACLU of Ohio continues to advocate for an early, in-person voting site in downtown Cincinnati where it will best serve all voters.

In February of 2014, the Hamilton County Board of Elections debated whether to move the county’s early voting site from its current location in downtown Cincinnati to the suburb of Mt. Airy, where few bus lines run. During the board’s hyper-partisan debates, they lost site of what is in the best interest of Hamilton County voters, many of whom are low-income, inner-city residents who do not own cars and rely instead on public transportation (or their own two feet) to get to the polls.

Here are maps that illustrate the problem (click to enlarge):

Cincinnati by Neighborhood - SORTA Routes

Cincinnati by Neighborhoods - Percentage Below Poverty
Transplanting early voting 10 miles away from the central hub of downtown Cincinnati to a suburb with limited access to public transportation will dramatically reduce access to the polls for these voters.

Early voting should be centrally located, with plenty of access for public transportation. The current downtown location fulfills both of these major criteria.

Most importantly, the bi-partisan Hamilton County Board of Elections should live up to its name by looking out for the best interest of all voters, regardless of their political persuasion. The best way to do that is to keep early voting downtown. Continue telling the Hamilton County Board of Elections to keep early, in-person voting downtown.