Rep. Fudge Says Changes in Ohio Voting Are ‘Racist’

Eric Scheiner | April 1, 2014 | 11:13am EDT
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Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) AP Photo

( - Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) says the recent changes in voting in Ohio are “racist.”

“I believe, personally, that a lot of this really is racist. I believe that. They cannot make me believe that they do not understand how important the right to vote is to me and people like me,” Fudge told WKYC-TV last week.

“Ohio has become the butt of jokes – even in Washington. Because our governor and our legislature are doing everything they can to prevent certain constituencies from voting. Poor people, minorities, the elderly, the disabled – and they are doing it knowingly,” Fudge said.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that early voting hours across the state during Ohio’s four-week early-voting period, will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays. Voters will also be able to cast an absentee ballot in person during the last two Saturdays before the election between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. No Sundays are offered.

In a press release Husted says the adoption of the new times comes from a bipartisan proposal from elections officials.

Democrats have been critical of the early voting schedule and two other recent changes to Ohio voting.

Two new laws that make changes in regards to the mailing of absentee ballots and cutting six days from Ohio's early, in-person voting period were signed by Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) last month. They are to take effect for the November election.

The six early days eliminated are part of what was called the “golden week” in the Buckeye state where voters could both register and then cast an in-person absentee ballot. State election officials recommended the period be eliminated to create a break between when voters can register and cast ballots.

The other law prohibits individual county boards of election from sending out unsolicited absentee ballot applications.

It instead makes the sending of absentee ballots uniform. Giving the Ohio secretary of state the responsibility to send them out on a statewide level, if voters appropriate money to pay for it.

Those in support of the law say, that previously voters were being treated differently, as each county had different standards as to when they sent out the absentee ballot applications.

(Associated Press stories were used in this report)

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