Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has followed through on promises to restrict voting opportunities in his state. The change, announced Tuesday, eliminates extended early voting hours on weekdays, the final two days before Election Day as well as Sunday voting, a day typically important to African-American voters because churches use it to turn out votes.
The early voting period is vital to the elderly, low-income voters, and anyone else with limited means to get to the polls, not to mention that it cuts down on election-day long lines and chaos. MSNBC notes that in 2008, black voters made up 56 percent “of all weekend voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest, even though they made up just 28% of the county’s population.”
Husted’s announcement comes on the heels of other Ohio initiatives to suppress turnout. Ohio just passed two bills that eliminates an entire week of early voting and end the practice of mailing absentee ballots.
Husted, known for vote suppression, similarly tried to cut Sunday voting hours in the 2012 presidential election. A federal appeals court intervened, concluding that the directive would mean “thousands of voters who would have voted during those three days will not be able to exercise their right to cast a vote in person.’”