Jon 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.

Ohiohistorycentral.org

After years of complaints about the way the Ohio's Congressional and Statehouse districts are drawn, an appointed panel of current and former lawmakers and other officials is looking over a plan to change it. In the second of a three part series on the issues in front of the Constitutional Modernization Commission, there’s still a lot of debate over whether that plan is fair and politically balanced.

It’s hard to find anyone around Capitol Square who doesn’t think the current process for redistricting doesn’t need to be tweaked or even completely overhauled. 

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.

Michael E. Keating

This week Howard Wilkinson talks about the ongoing debate concerning when and where people can vote in Ohio.

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.

In politics, if you have the numbers, you get to make the rules.

In Ohio, the Republicans have the numbers – they control both the Ohio House and Senate, they have one of their own in the governor’s office, John Kasich, and a Republican as the state’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Jon Husted.

What Kasich, Husted and the legislature have done in recent weeks is to wield that power to make some rather big changes in the early voting system Ohio has used since 2006.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections will move to a new site in Mt. Airy after the 2016 election, thanks to a tie-breaking vote cast Friday by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

On January 27, the Hamilton County Board of Elections split along party lines on whether to move to the former Mercy Mt. Airy Hospital site, recently acquired for free from Catholic Health Partners.

The Democrats on the Hamilton County Board of Elections have asked the Ohio Secretary of State and Ohio Attorney general to investigate whether county prosecutor Joe Deters voted improperly in the November 2012 election.

Democrats Tim Burke, the board of elections chairman, and board member Caleb Faux asked for the investigation after the two Republicans on the board of elections, Alex Triantafilou and Chip Gerhardt, refused to allow the matter to be discussed at a board of elections meeting.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted
State of Ohio

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says that with the help of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections, his office has virtually eliminated duplicate registrations from the state’s voter registration data base.

In a release Tuesday, Husted said there were more than 340,000 duplicate registrations when he took office in Jan. 2011. Today, he said, out of about 7.7 million registered voters, there are only four remaining.

Ohio Attorney General website

So far, only one of the 20 cases of alleged voter fraud referred by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to the Ohio Attorney General’s office has resulted in a criminal conviction – that of a northern Kentucky woman who pleaded guilty to voting in Butler County last fall.

According to court records, 58-year-old Kim Trombetta of Newport entered a guilty plea in a Butler County court in June to a misdemeanor charge of falsification and was fined $1,000. Trombetta was told the fine would be reduced to $500 if she did 50 hours of community service.

Ohio Government Website

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has broken a tie vote on the Hamilton County Board of Elections, sending 39 more cases of persons alleged to have voted twice in the 2012 election to the county prosecutor for possible criminal prosecution.

"These cases should be investigated,'' Husted told WVXU. "It does not necessarily mean people will be indicted and prosecuted. But the elections system does not have the capability to investigate all of these; and the county prosecutor does."

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