Husted Defends Restricted Absentee Voting Hours

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File photo(Photo: Flickr)
File photo(Photo: Flickr)

Voters in Franklin County and some other counties who want to vote early in person will only be able to do so during office hours.

Board of Election offices set their own hours for in-person absentee voting. It’s a decision made by its board members…two democrats, and two republicans. But when the vote is tied, it’s up to the Secretary of State’s office to decide.

In Franklin County, which leans Democratic in voting, Democrats on the board of elections voted to extend in-person voting hours this election, while Republicans wanted to maintain standard business hours. Deputy Director of the Board of Elections, Dana Walch explains why fewer hours were approved.

“There are some members out there that feel being open during regular business hours combined with the ability for voters to vote via mail without having to provide any excuse provides very ample time for everybody to vote,” says Walch.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, decided not to allow extended in-person voting hours for several counties, including Franklin, Cuyahoga, Summit, and Lucas, all of which favored President Obama in the 2008 election.

In an effort to be fair, Husted says he will not extend hours for counties unable to reach an agreement. He says there will be plenty of opportunity to vote.

“There are over 750 hours in which a voter can cast a ballot. If you look at other states at Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Michigan, they don’t even have early voting,” Husted says.

In Warren County, in southeastern Ohio which leans Republican, all election board members agreed for extended in-person voting hours. Director of the Warren County Board of Elections, Kim Antrican says it will not cost that much more money.

“Cause we’re going to be here for poll worker training and other tasks that are going on. So it isn’t like we’re not already going to be here. We’re just going to have part of the office open to the public,” says Antrican.

Early in person, absentee voting takes place from October 2nd to November 2nd.