Act of denying extended voting rights is unconstitutional
Cincinnati--Today in a press conference held at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, State Senator Eric H. Kearney and Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory called for Secretary of State Jon Husted to extend early voting hours for all 88 counties.
On August 16th, the Hamilton County Board of Elections will meet to vote on extending early voting hours, as was the case for the 2010 general election. The final vote by the board may end in a deadlock forcing Husted, a Republican, to cast the tie-breaking vote.
In recent weeks, Ohio's largest counties--including Franklin, Lucas, Summit and Cuyahoga--with large minority populations have had their extended voting hours cut as a result of tie-breaking votes cast by Husted. However, several Republican leaning counties will have additional early voting hours.
"This act of denying extended voting hours for a select population is unconstitutional and violates our 14th amendment rights," said Senator Kearney. "What is happening across the state in urban counties for extended early voting hours is a part of a pattern of voter suppression that needs to end."
Husted's tie-breaking vote impacts 40 percent of Ohio's registered Democrats and more than a quarter of registered voters statewide.
"I've been advocating for voting for many years and what we see here is a repeat of all the efforts historically to keep us from voting and we will not tolerate it," said former state lawmaker William L. Mallory Sr.
Yesterday, several Democratic state lawmakers sent a letter to Husted requesting uniformity in the elections process calling for Husted to take action to ensure fair and equal access to extended early voting hours across the state.
"We talk of how the government should be responsive, like the private industry. Well the private industry is responsive to the needs of the customer," said Mayor Mallory. "So when they are approaching the Christmas season, they have extended hours. This isn't anything different."