Jon Husted

Alright, it’s settled now.

The two voter information posters from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted – a candidate for re-election – which display his name prominently featured will be posted in Ohio’s polling places.

Ohio’s director of elections has told Hamilton County Democratic chairman Tim Burke that a voter information poster Burke objects to must be posted in all polling places.

Burke, who is also chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, wrote an e-mail to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted asking if the board was required to put up the two-foot by three-post with Husted’s name in large letters at the bottom.

Husted is a candidate for re-election; and Burke told WVXU he believed it amounts to electioneering inside polling places, which is not allowed.

Howard Wilkinson

Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke believes a voter information poster for polling places sent out by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is a form of electioneering.

The Republican Husted is a candidate for re-election.

The secretary of state's office sent two posters to Ohio's eighty-eight boards of elections, asking them to be placed in polling places.

One is an 11 by 17 inch poster encouraging voting that shows the work of a fifth grade student who won a statewide poster contest sponsored by Husted.

Ohio’s 35 day period of early voting – beginning next Tuesday - will remain in effect after a three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Ohio’s appeal Wednesday.

But Secretary of State Jon Husted said Wednesday he will ask the full 15-member federal appeals court to hear the state’s appeal of the decision. Time is running out for that, though, with early voting set to start in five days.

It is not yet clear whether the full appeals court will agree to hear the state’s appeal.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked this morning with Maryanne Zeleznik about the legal battle over early voting in Ohio.

Ohio’s “Golden Week” of early voting is back.

So too are the 35 day early voting period and extended evening and weekend hours for in-person early voting.

All thanks to a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus of Cleveland; and a refusal by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to put a stay on Economus’ decision.

Ohio Republicans are furious. Ohio Democrats are jubilant.

But, in the end, does it really matter?

Both sides think so, for different reasons, of course.

The debate over voting rights in Ohio rages on, unabated.  

Democrats argue that the Republicans in the legislature and the Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, have done everything in their power to make it difficult for Democrats – particularly African-American voters – to cast a ballot.

Husted and the Republicans argue that you would be hard-pressed to find a state that gives its people more opportunities to cast a ballot, with its 28-day early voting period for both mail-in absentee ballots and early in-person voting at the state’s 88 county boards of elections.

As of Thursday, early absentee ballots cast in Hamilton County in the May 6 primary were down 80 percent from what they were four years ago.

Democrats say this is explained by the fact that, unlike the May 2010 primary, every voter in the county was not mailed an absentee ballot application by the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Republicans say it is simply a matter of no big candidate race or ballot issue driving early voters to get their ballots and mail them in – that this is, in fact, a ho-hum election.

The numbers are really striking.

Voting by absentee ballot and early in-person voting for the May 6 primary began Tuesday at Ohio's 88 county boards of elections.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's office said Tuesday county boards of elections had already received nearly 24,000 requests for absentee ballots. They began mailing out the ballots today.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s chief election officer, put out a rather cheery press release this week to let Ohio voters know how well off they are when it comes to early voting.

“Voting in Ohio is easy,” the headline read, accompanied by a multi-colored graphic showing Ohio and its multiple ways of voting, alongside mean old states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, which Husted said don’t afford voters so many opportunities.