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Secretary of State Jon Husted Sets Fair and Uniform Voting Hours for 2014 General Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Secretary of State Jon Husted Sets Fair and Uniform Voting Hours for 2014 General Election

Adopts bipartisan proposal with support of the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials

COLUMBUS – In adopting a proposal put forth by Democratic and Republican elections officials, Secretary Husted today announced a voting schedule that will ensure voters in all 88 counties will have an equal opportunity to cast a ballot in the 2014 statewide election.

Secretary Husted’s directive issued today implements a bipartisan proposal by the Ohio Association of Elections Officials (OAEO) and will give Ohioans the ability to cast an absentee ballot in person over the course of four weeks leading up to Election Day. During the week, boards will be open for voting from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and on the last two Saturdays before the election, from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

“In 2014, absentee voters will have the option of voting in person for four weeks, or they can vote without ever leaving home by completing the absentee ballot request form we will be sending all voters,” Secretary Husted said. “Our goal is to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat and to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in the voting process no matter which method they choose.”

For three years, Secretary Husted and local elections officials have asked legislators from both political parties to come together and enact a law that establishes uniform days and hours to achieve that fairness. The OAEO, representing the Republicans and Democrats who run local elections in counties large and small, put forth a bipartisan blueprint for action by agreeing to a uniform voting schedule.

“I have watched as numerous election laws have passed the General Assembly and yet the bipartisan plan I have advocated for has neither been introduced nor adopted,” Husted said. “We have a bipartisan solution in this proposal and it is time to implement it.”

“Ohio’s election officials poured blood, sweat and tears into arriving at hours that are fair to Ohio’s voters.  Our proposal represents a bipartisan agreement that takes into account many different points of view,” Kathy Jones, Democratic Director of the Brown County Board of Elections and President of the OAEO said. “Compromise is a key element in administering elections, and it is something we do day-in and day-out.  These hours truly encapsulate what Speaker Verne Riffe used to say, ‘sometimes the best compromise is when no one is entirely happy.’”

Shawn Stevens, a Republican Board of Elections Member in Delaware County and First Vice President of the OAEO said: "The hours contained in Secretary Husted’s directive capture the most fundamental element of election administration.  They are FAIR.  At the end of the day, we can argue over what is best for a particular county board of elections or another, but that is not what this is about.  This directive is about what is fair to voters and taxpayers in every Ohio county, and that is why this directive will serve the state well.”

“The Ohio Association of Election Officials is as bipartisan as you can be.  Because we are bipartisan, we are not driven by political agendas, but by what is best for Ohio’s voters. And Ohio’s voters and the people who run elections need the clarity that is offered by this directive.” said Aaron Ockerman, Executive Director of the OAEO. “Voters in every Ohio county can vote during the day, on weekends or by mail.  That is fair, that is practical and that is bipartisan," Ockerman added.

Secretary Husted wants to ensure the voting schedule is set well before the general election so that voters and elections officials know what to expect and can adequately prepare. Hours for voting leading up to the May primary election remain as set by Secretary Husted in mid-January. The primary schedule also mirrors the bipartisan OAEO proposal.

Taken together, Secretary Husted’s directive governing in-person early voting; his plan to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in the fall; not to mention the fact that Election Day polls will be open from 6:30am to 7:30pm, achieve the goal of treating all voters fairly and provides ample opportunity and multiple options for them to cast ballots throughout 2014. 

Additional Information
Directive 2014-06: Fair and Uniform Days and Hours for Absentee Voting

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For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at (614) 995-2239.

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