The plot thickens behind the scenes. Rachel Maddow last night did an excellent segment on what is happening with early voting in Ohio, but it misses a very key point. I am a member of the Hamilton County Board of Elections (Cincinnati) so I have a ringside seat.
What this segment misses is what is happening with "extended voting hours" in Ohio. In Ohio you can go to the Board of Elections to vote early if you chose and a very large number of people did in 2008. That year the Boards of Elections in the major counties maintained evening hours, Saturday morning hours, even the occasional Sunday. Good of course for working people of course and they made good use of that.
This year that is changing. Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) and Summit County (Akron) have been limited to "normal business hours" while at the same time big Republican suburban ring counties are voting to be open evenings and weekends. The implications are obvious. If you are a working stiff in those counties there is no need for extra hours to accommodate you. But if you are working stiff in Butler County or Warren County, reliably Republican counties then by all means your convenience must be accommodated. Same is true in Medina and Portage Counties near Cleveland.
This is something that is emerging on a County by County basis. In Ohio Boards of Elections are made up of 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Any tie votes are broken by the Secretary of State. So in Cleveland and Akron Republicans voted against expanded hours and the SOS broke the tie in their favor. But in Butler, Warren, Medina and Portage Republicans were in favor of expanded hours and Democrats were happy to support that. Thus no tie.
A pattern is emerging that is troubling.
We in Cincinnati have not yet voted on this issue (we do on August 16th) but our Republican colleagues are indicating they intend to do the same as happened in Cleveland. It remains to be seen what will happen in Columbus (not anymore - see update). To reiterate, I personally will be casting one of the four votes that day. This diary is a solicitation of support.
Update We learn this morning that Franklin County too (Columbus) see here has also been restricted to normal business hours. That makes 3 of the four largest Counties in the State. Cincinnati (Hamilton) is the only one left to vote and that will happen August 16th, but the outcome seems apparent.