Columbus—State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) in a letter sent earlier this week has urged the Hamilton County Board of Elections to extend early voting hours for Hamilton County; this issue is up for review in their meeting on August 16th at 9:00 AM. Hamilton County had extended voting hours for the 2008 Presidential election and the 2010 gubernatorial election. Rep. Reece is asking that this practice be continued.
“Several heavy Republican populated counties have already voted to extend their hours. Why wouldn’t Hamilton County do the same? Many working people need these extended hours so they can exercise their right to vote. This process has worked in the past; why change now! Let’s not disenfranchise the voters of Hamilton,” says Rep. Reece.
Representative Reece is also calling for action in the State House on her legislation to standardize the counting of provisional ballots across the state.
The full text of the letter can be seen below:
Chairman Timothy Burke
Hamilton County Board of Elections
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1345
August 13, 2012
Dear Chairman Burke,
We are once again approaching a historic election this November in which the eyes of the nation and the world will be on Ohio and Hamilton County. For the past several years, including a Presidential election in 2008 and a gubernatorial election in 2010, our county board of elections provided extended early voting hours to citizens eligible to vote. This allowed for higher rates of enfranchisement, far shorter lines on Election Day and a more efficiently run elections process. I am writing to urge you to follow this common sense precedent and vote to allow extended early voting hours in Hamilton County for the 2012 election.
According to statistics kept by your Board staff, nearly 9,000 Hamilton County residents voted at the Board of Elections during extended evening and weekend hours in the 2008 election. Clearly, extended voting hours are popular with voters and work for their busy schedules.
Our Secretary of State Jon Husted has advocated for a uniform, one-size-fits-all approach to early voting and has used his authority to quash any attempt at providing extended early voting hours in every corner of the state. However, if given the opportunity to do so in Hamilton County this year, his logic would fail miserably. Neighboring Warren County’s Board of Elections has already voted to extend early voting hours to its citizens. If Hamilton County fails to do the same, citizens in Warren County who live in the 1st Congressional district would be given more access to the polls than those 1st district voters who reside in Hamilton County. Given that Hamilton County’s population is far larger than Warren County’s, thus justifying a more urgent need for extended early voting hours in the more populous county, it again proves that the Secretary of State’s logic in breaking tie votes on this matter is simply faulty. One size does not fit all and this misguided attempt to achieve uniformity is achieving only disparity.
I urge you to make a common sense decision to maintain the early voting hours that we had in 2008. I implore you to do the right thing for Hamilton County. Please vote to extend early voting hours for the citizens of our county.
State Representative-33rd District