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Ohio's Week of Same-Day Voting Upheld

The biggest electoral dust-up this summer in Ohio has been the attempt to overturn Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s decision to allow voters to register and vote on the same day during a one week period from September 30th to October 6th.  This resulted from an overlap between the beginning of early voting and the end of voter registration, 30 days before the election.  The Ohio Republican Party, nervous that progressive groups planned to target get out the vote efforts during same day voting, sued in state court.  Their claim was that the practice would violate the state requirement that a person be registered 30 days before an election in order to vote.  The ACLU, in concert with a number of voting rights advocates, filed a counter-suit to enforce the Secretary of State’s decision in federal court.

Both the federal judge and the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Secretary of State on Monday.  Federal District Judge James Gwin wrote that "[c]andidly, the underlying merits of issues are not even close ”¦ With regard to the interpretation of Ohio law, Defendant Brunner obviously determined the issue correctly."

We were curious if any other states had similar, coincidental same-day registration periods.  PSN found six that either have overlaps or put no statutory restriction on when a voter can cast an absentee ballot in person.  The only swing state in the bunch — Indiana — informs voters on its Secretary of State website that in-person absentee voting begins the day after voter registration ends.  Information for the other states is as follows:

  • Idaho — No limit on the in-person absentee balloting period.  Assumedly you can register and vote on the same day from when the ballots are printed and made available until 25 days before the election (Oct. 12).
  • Kansas — Some counties have absentee balloting 20 days before the election and voter registration ends 15 days before. 
  • Nebraska — Voters can vote and register on the same-day from 35 days before the election to the 2nd Friday before the election (Sept. 30 to Oct 17).
  • South Dakota — Voter can vote and register on the same-day from six weeks before the election to the 15 days before (Sept. 23 to Oct 20).
  • Vermont — Voters can vote and register on the same-day from 30 days before the election to the 2nd Friday before the election (Oct. 5 to Oct 28).

Information and forms for voting absentee in all 50 states can be found at LongDistanceVoter.com