Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday he is cutting early voting on Sundays and weekday evenings, dealing another blow to the voting rights effort in the nation‚Äôs most pivotal swing state.
Husted‚Äôs change would spell doom for a voting method that‚Äôs popular among African-Americans in Ohio and elsewhere. Many churches and community groups lead ‚ÄúSouls to the Polls‚ÄĚ drives after church on the Sunday before the election.
There‚Äôs little doubt that cuts to early voting target blacks disproportionately. In 2008, black voters were 56% of all weekend voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio‚Äôs largest, even though they made up just 28% of the county‚Äôs population.
‚ÄúBy completely eliminating Sundays from the early voting schedule, Secretary Husted has effectively quashed successful Souls to the Polls programs that brought voters directly form church to early voting sites,‚ÄĚ said Mike Brickner, a spokesman for the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union, in an email.