Ohio early voting hours expanded by settlement agreement

Ohio Secretary of State John Husted and groups such as the ACLU of Ohio and Ohio NAACP have reached a settlement on early voting issues in Ohio that all are touting as a victory, according to the Columbus Dispatch and Ohio Capitol Connection's Hannah Report (sub. req.) The agreement settles a federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others in response to legislation passed last year that eliminated Ohio's "Golden Week," (where voters could both register to vote and engage in early voting at the same time) and a directive by Husted that did not include evening or Sunday voting hours. We followed the developments in this case in the district court and the U.S. Supreme Court, here and here.

The settlement does not restore "Golden Week," but does institute more evening and weekend hours for early voting. The new schedule will include early voting on Sunday from 1-5pm in the third week of early voting before general elections (such as a presidential election.) Other details of the schedule, per the Hannah Report, include,

Weekdays during the fourth week of voting for presidential and primary elections and gubernatorial general elections will see boards of elections open until 7 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. For regular municipal elections, primary elections and special elections, boards will stay open until 7 p.m. on weekdays during the fourth week of early voting, and will be open until 4 p.m. on the Saturday before Election Day instead of noon.

Some early voting hours had also been restored in a directive issued by Husted. According to the Dispatch, the ACLU praised the settlement for restoring Sunday and evening hours as "meaning more voters will have a better chance to actually vote." The Hannah Report quotes Secretary Husted as calling the settlement a "victory" preserving uniformity for all voters.