A state lawmaker wants early voting time limits shortened
A state lawmaker wants to see early voting cut in half in Ohio. State Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, thinks the current 35 days is too long.
Becker points out that there are already 13 hours of voting on Election Day and you can vote absentee by mail in addition to the two weeks of in-person voting he would still allow for under his bill. It would not include any weekend voting hours.
"The more of the wild west we have with early voting, and I don't know how it gets any more of a wild west than we currently have, you have more opportunities for fraud," he said.
Becker believes it's too easy to commit voter fraud in Ohio and worries that the few cases we've heard of are only those who have been caught.
"Do we want to have continuous elections with no limits at all? That seems to be the direction we're going," he said.
Becker says the legislation would create uniform voting times across the state and end the chaos of court cases over voting time. But Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio says early voting is growing in popularity and the current system works just fine.
"If it ain't broke don't fix it," she said.
She says cutting early voting time in half is not the right direction for Ohio to move.
"The key is to make sure that there are enough early voting options and enough voting options in general to make the process as free, fair, and as accessible as possible for every registered voter," she said.
Davis thinks there should be daytime, weekend, and evening voting hours so that everyone has a chance to cast a vote in the way they want.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says he likes parts of the bill and is a proponent of lawmakers setting voting hours instead of his office, but he thinks the two weeks set out in the bill might be too short for early voting.
"I'd like to see a little longer period than that," he said.
Husted also said Becker would have to either allow early voting the weekend before the election or cut it off for members of the military too. A court ruled that there cannot be separate rules for separate groups of people.
State Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat running against Husted for Secretary of State, says early voting has been a "resounding success."
"It is clearly popular with voters, and helps alleviate long lines at the polls on Election Day. For the life of me, I do not know why anyone would want to reduce voting opportunities," she said in a statement.