Equality granted on early voting
Ohioans who live in the Cincinnati suburban counties of Warren and Butler were going to be able to vote in the evening and on weekends for a month leading up to the election.
But within Cincinnati – and Akron, Cleveland and Columbus – early voting had been scheduled to close at 5 p.m. weekdays with no weekend hours.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted was the deciding vote among individual county election boards, essentially setting longer hours for Republican counties and shorter hours for Democratic counties.
But after a barrage of criticism, Husted this week set uniform hours for all counties that provide for later weekday closing times but no weekend hours.
Democrats are still challenging the ban on in-person early voting the day before the election.
Husted had originally claimed suburban counties could afford to staff extended early voting, while the urban counties couldn’t.
Air quality notices may go Web only
IDEM needs to look beyond the usual suspects when publicizing its public hearings.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Air Quality has asked the EPA for permission to do away with publishing notices for public hearings on environmental issues in local newspapers starting Dec. 1.
Department leaders estimate that eliminating the publication of notices will save taxpayers about $7,500.
It may save a little money, but it will also ensure that fewer people, including citizens directly affected by IDEM decisions, ever find out about important public meetings.
IDEM officials claim that posting the notices on the IDEM website will adequately inform people who are interested in the meetings. The agency will also send emails to people who sign up for meeting notices.
But there are still a lot of Hoosiers who don’t have Internet access. Eliminating newspaper publication of notices increases the likelihood that the average citizen won’t learn about a hearing until it’s too late.