I applaud Secy of State John Husted’s decision in Ohio to set uniform times for early voting throughout the state of Ohio.
I disagree with the legislature’s decision to eliminate weekend early voting, which is utilized by many citizens who have less flexibility during the week. Also, as shown by the National Conference of State Legislature’s absentee and early voting page and reflected in our early voting calendar, 11 early voting states are able to end early voting the Monday before election day, and 5 more end on the Saturday before. 12 states require at least one Saturday or Sunday opening and in other states, counties are given the flexibility to open on the weekends (we have no data on how many actually choose to do so).
Data that we have reported previously at EVIC shows that the number of early voters climbs day by day as election day approaches, most often peaking on the last day or two (typically the weekend before). I recognize the challenges of preparing for election day when early voting has ended only a day or two before, as well as the budgetary constraints faced by many jurisdictions. (This latter, however, should be offset by election day savings when 20-40% of votes have already been cast.)
Nonetheless, Secretary Husted, by all reports, took into due consideration the opinions of local election officials, the legislature, and competing political forces. He threaded the needle superbly, and has rendered a fair and non-partisan decision.
He should be applauded for doing so, and setting a standard for expert, non-partisan election administration.