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Early Voting Brings New State Lawsuit

 
Posted May 2nd, 2014 @ 6:02am

Another election, another lawsuit. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit over limits on when voters can cast an early ballot.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Columbus federal court, claims that changes to early voting hours disproportionately affect low income, elderly, and minority voters.

"These legislative and administrative cuts to early voting have eliminated the days and times used by more than 157,000 Ohio voters used to cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election," said the ACLU's Sean Young.

The ACLU and the Ohio Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are among the plaintiffs challenging a directive from Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted that sets uniform voting hours statewide.

"This uniformity could easily have been achieved by expanding access to the polls rather than cutting it," Young said.

Husted spokesman Matt McClellan says uniformity is needed to ensure that everyone has the same access.

"All voters, no matter what county they live in, have the same opportunities to vote in the month leading up to the election," he said.

The groups are also seeking to overturn a law that eliminated days when residents can both register to vote and cast an early ballot. That period was known as "golden week."

"Prior to these cuts Ohio had provided this week for nearly seven years with no widespread problems" Young said.

McClellan pointed out that it's easy to vote in Ohio. You can request a no-fault absentee ballot and vote from home and then mail the ballot or drop it off to your county board of elections. You can also vote early in person.

"The plaintiffs should be joining Secretary Husted in making sure all voters know their voting options rather than trying to scare them into believing it's hard. That's the real voter suppression going on," he said.

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