Voting Rights Press Release

02.22.14

A Very Bad Day for Voting Rights in Ohio

Ohio Governor Signs Two Controversial Voting Bills While Secretary of State Votes to Allow Hamilton County’s Only Early Voting Site to be Moved Miles Away from Downtown Cincinnati

UPDATE: Ohio Voters Gain Greater Access to Ballot in ACLU Settlement

CLEVELAND, OH – Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed two pieces of legislation that will make it harder to vote early in Ohio. Hours later Secretary of State Jon Husted cast a tie-breaking vote that allows the deadlocked Hamilton County Board of Elections (BOE) to move the county’s sole early voting site to suburban Mount Airy.

The Governor’s decision was expected by many, but Husted’s vote directly contradicts his earlier comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer in which he said that it makes “logical” sense to keep the early voting location downtown, even if most BOE operations are eventually moved to Mount Airy.

“The job of our elected officials is to expand access to the ballot box not deny it,” said ACLU of Ohio Director of Communications and Public Policy Mike Brickner. “Today was a bad day for Ohio voters. Golden Week is now gone, Ohio voters are less likely than before to receive absentee ballots, and it is easier for elections officials to reject those absentee ballots if voters make a mistake. In addition, if you are one of the 40-55 percent of people in downtown Cincinnati without access to a car, you may soon be looking at hours on a bus if you want to vote early.”

The ACLU of Ohio has argued repeatedly against cuts to early voting in Ohio, and recently held a joint press conference in Cincinnati with the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area asking the Hamilton County Board of Elections to keep the county’s early voting location downtown.