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The Process is Political: Ohio Petition Effort Delays Law to Shorten Early Voting

Friday, September 30, 2011

A state sign welcomes you to Ohio. (Flickr user: Jimmywayne/flickr)

Our daily look at the details that can change everything.

Opponents of Changes to Ohio's Early Voting Law Win Delay: The Ohio legislature passed a law last June to shorten the early voting period. It was supposed to take effect today, now it's on hold after opponents collected more than 300,000 signatures in their effort to repeal the law. That means at least for this November's election, when state voters will weigh in on a new law that restricts collective bargaining for public employees, the old early voting period will remain in effect: 35 days early to vote in person or by mail, including a 5-day period where voters could register and vote on the same day.

If the Ohio Secretary of State verifies at least 231,147 of the signatures, a ballot measure would be on the 2012 ballot to repeal the shortened period, leaving the new law in limbo until after the presidential election. A third of ballots in the 2008 election were cast early, and the Obama reelection campaign joined the effort to collect signatures to repeal the law. (Associated Press)

Dissent among Florida GOP on Moving Up Primary: Florida will be less important, not more, if a committee opts to move up the state's primary date to January 31. That's the argument of one Republican leader in Florida who serves on the Republican National Committee, who says it would be "a slap in the face to the party," and could make for some awkward tensions when Tampa hosts the Republican National Convention. Moving up the date is supported by other Florida Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott, the House Speaker, and state Senate President.

There's another high-profile name who supports Florida's move: Vice President Joe Biden. He said in a radio interview this week that it makes sense, which is at odds with the local Democratic leaders in Florida. (Tampa Tribune

New Count Shows More South Carolina Voters Unprepared to Comply with New ID Law: South Carolina passed a law this year that requires present a photo ID at the polls. The DMV had said that would impact around 175,000 registered voters did not have a photo ID, based on a 2010 count. The agency updated its numbers this week, and despite an outreach effort by the state, the number of affected voters is actually 20 percent higher and stands at 216,596.

As we reported earlier this month, the Justice Department declined to immediately approve the law, a requirement of the Voting Rights Act, and has asked the state to answer more questions about its potential impact on minority voters. (Associated Press)

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