November 25, 2014

Medina
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Ohio Secretary of State candidate Nina Turner talks voting hours

State Sen. Nina Turner, Democratic candidate for secretary of state, shakes hands with Pamela B. Miller, former head of the Medina County Democratic Party who now serves as chairwoman of the county Board of Elections, at a garden party fundraiser hosted by Janice Skeen in Sharon Township on Sunday afternoon. Turner said she would work to expand voting opportunities for Ohioans if elected to office in November. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

State Sen. Nina Turner, Democratic candidate for secretary of state, shakes hands with Pamela B. Miller, former head of the Medina County Democratic Party who now serves as chairwoman of the county Board of Elections, at a garden party fundraiser hosted by Janice Skeen in Sharon Township on Sunday afternoon. Turner said she would work to expand voting opportunities for Ohioans if elected to office in November. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

SHARON TWP. — State Sen. Nina Turner, who’s on the campaign trail as the Democratic nominee for Ohio secretary of State, stopped by a garden party fundraiser Sunday afternoon.

Turner, whose Senate District 25 represents part of Cuyahoga and Lake counties, told the audience of about 30 that, if elected, she would work to restore more hours for Ohio voters.

“This year, we have fewer opportunities to vote than in past years,” she said. “I want to expand and protect our ballot boxes.”

Republican incumbent Secretary of State Jon Husted eliminated voting hours on the Sunday and Monday before the Tuesday election.

In March, the Ohio Democratic Party, with the support of Medina County Democratic party leaders, filed suit against Husted’s elimination of early voting hours.

Turner was among the Ohio Democrats pushing the courts to rule against Husted.

“It’s un-American to mess with our voting environment,” she said.

Turner said those weekend dates and times are important to working families who may find it difficult to cast a ballot on Election Day.

Last month, a federal judge in Columbus ruled against the elimination of those two days, but left it up to Husted to set specific hours for voting.

In public statements, Husted has argued he reduced early voting hours because there was no uniformity and each county had set their own hours. Husted also said that having long election hours put a strain on the finances of many smaller counties, which couldn’t afford the staff for extended periods of time.

Turner said she understands the need to set a standard, but said it doesn’t mean counties that want to extend their hours should be barred from doing so.

“There should be a floor, below which the (county) board of elections may not drop,” she said. “But counties should be able to go above that if they choose.”

Turner said the needs are different in Cuyahoga County with 1.3 million people, than in smaller counties like Vinton, in southern Ohio with only about 13,000 people. Uniform laws don’t work in counties that are very different in size, she said.

“Hours that work in a smaller county, don’t necessarily work in larger ones,” she said.

In addition to stumping about changes to the voting process, Turner also promised to work more closely with the businesses that file their paperwork with the secretary of state’s office if elected.

“We need to help connect these businesses with the people and state organizations that can help them as they grow,” she said. “I want to give them the tools they need to be strong.”

Prior to the fundraiser, Turner attended church services Sunday morning at the Medina Second Baptist Church on Bronson Street where she gave the sermon.

“The theme was waiting with confidence,” she said.

The garden party was hosted by Janice Skeen, who serves as chair of the Medina County Democratic Party Women’s Caucus. She hosted the event at her business — the National WholistiCenter, an alternative health care practice on state Route 18. She talked about the work she and other volunteers were doing to help families struggling in poverty.

In introducing Turner, Skeen said, “we are so lucky to have someone in our corner.”

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.