Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a mandate on Wednesday to establish uniform voting hours in all of the state’s 88 counties.
Previous to Wednesday’s mandate, voting hours in Ohio varied depending on the rulings of county boards of elections.
As a result, voters in Republican-leaning counties could have longer voting hours than those in urban, Democratic-leaning counties.
Some called the issue “dirty politics.”
“I believe it is purposeful,” said Democratic Sen. Charleta Tavares of Columbus. “We have more working class poor individuals in our urban counties, more Democrats and people of color in urban counties.”
As part of the ruling, Husted also canceled all early voting during weekend hours.
“What we are is a swing state, and partisans will try to make hay out of rules,” Husted said. “That’s the reason today, the rules are fair for everybody, because everybody is being treated the same, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or whatever political stripe you might identify yourself as, the rules are fair.”
Ohio Democrats said that they were disappointed by what they called “Husted’s deceptive tactics.”
“Each moment we get closer to Election Day, Republicans find more ways to chip away at the number of days and hours Ohio voters have access to the polls,” said Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern. “Now Secretary of State Jon Husted has eliminated weekend voting and slashed hours across the entire state, taking away the right to 35 days of early voting that’s written into Ohio law. I’m deeply disappointed that Husted, the Republican legislature, and Governor Kasich have done everything they can to limit voting access, rather than help Ohioans exercise one of their most fundamental rights.”
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