CLEVELAND – The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today asking for uniform statewide rules on early voting hours. The letter also requests that these rules expand evening and weekend voting opportunities for all Ohioans instead of restricting them.

“Expanded early and absentee voting opportunities have led to smaller lines, less confusion and fewer problems on Election Day,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy. “The benefits of these opportunities are clear and so are the consequences of restricting them. Fewer early voting opportunities would be a step backwards for Ohio elections.”

The ACLU letter calls on Husted to defend equal access to the polls, regardless of county lines.

“Early voting opportunities should not be limited by the county where a person lives,” said Brickner. “All voters should have the same early voting opportunities and those opportunities should be as broad as possible.”

“Voters have a responsibility to empower themselves,” added Brickner, “but elections officials also have a responsibility to help them by instituting fair and consistent rules.”

In previous rulings on extended early in-person voting hours, Secretary Husted has voted against them citing the state's distribution of mail-in voting applications to all registered voters as sufficient. The ACLU points out in its letter that counties like Cuyahoga in 2008 sent absentee ballot forms to all registered voters and extended early in-person voting hours, and saw large numbers of voters utilize each.