Ohio’s Franklin County GOP Chairman Doug Preisse voted against the weekend voting process Ohio had during the 2008 election that enabled about 100,000 Ohioans to vote on the three days before Election Day.
In an effort to explain his decision, Preisse e-mailed this message to the Columbus Dispatch:
I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.
Preisse’s comments come after Secretary of State Jon Husted ordered all of Ohio’s 88 election boards to have the same hours in regards to early in-person voting. The boards will be open till 7 pm the final two weeks before the election but all weekend hours have been cut. Husted cited costs as the main reason to why there would be no weekend early voting hours, however in light of Preisse’s comments, many democrats feel this decision was made in an effort to suppress black voters.
Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern called Husted’s decision “borderline criminal.”
NAACP Ohio Conference President Sybil Edwards McNabb told the Dispatch, “As a result of historical discrimination against African-American voters, in addition to the recent wave of suppressive voter laws being enacted in statehouses across the country, African-American voters are skeptical of any laws aimed at limiting the opportunity to vote.”
The weekend hours available to early voters in the 2008 presidential election proved to be very valuable to thousands of working Ohioans, so the decision to cut them is puzzling to many.
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.