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Advocates pushing Ohio voting bill as support for local election boards

Turnout up in second election since Hamilton County Board of Elections moved to Norwood
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 19:51:27-04

NORWOOD, Ohio — The Ohio Association of Election Officials said it supports the piece of the Ohio House Bill 294 that would eliminate early voting the Monday before election day.

“It was just so busy on Mondays that we didn't have time to really start anything until five or six o’clock at night,” said Warren County Board of Elections head Brian Sleeth, a leader of the Ohio Association of Election Officials. “And, you know, finding ourselves exhausted going into Tuesday morning just really set ourselves up for some potential issues."

House Bill 294 would take the hours eliminated on that Monday and add them to other early voting days.

WCPO asked every board of elections in eight southwest Ohio counties whether the change would make election planning easier. Directors and deputy directors all said: Yes, it would.

“The logistical issue is: We have to wait until early voting is over at 2 p.m.," said Butler County deputy director Eric Corbin. "And then, if there’s a line like there was this past November, early voting check-ins didn’t stop until maybe 2:30. That just gives us a short window where we have to take the data from our database of who’s voted early, especially who’s voted early on Monday, and make sure that we get that into our poll books so that those voters can’t go to the polls and cast another ballot."

The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio held a town-hall meeting Wednesday in Cincinnati to inform voters that it is against HB 294. President and CEO Eddie Koen called the bill heinous.

“It’s new lipstick but same pig that happens every two to four years when you see these state houses try to reduce the right to vote under the guise of protecting the vote,” said Koen.

Election leaders said they understand the dilemma.

“I do understand the people who don't want to eliminate it because that's one less day leading up to the election,” said Sleeth. “I mean, you have people with emergencies that planned on voting on Tuesday, and, all the sudden, they go out of town. I've talked to people like that before.”

He said one option is to make that Monday a provisional voting day.

Cincinnati-based State Rep. Bill Seitz (R) is one of the sponsors of the 174-page bill.

To see previous reports listing changed the bill would make, click here.