CLEVELAND, Ohio - A battle over how and when Ohioans vote heated up across the state, as House Bill 194 was discussed during a Senate hearing at the Carl B. Stokes United States Federal Courthouse on Monday.
It all had to do with a plan to limit early voting and the concern over voter fraud.
Senate Majority Whip and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown listened to testimony for and against the bill. They said proponents of the plan need to give examples of voter fraud and a clear motive for keeping more than 100,000 voters from the polls the weekend before an election.
"They could find no evidence, no cases, no prosecutions. That's exactly the same thing I found in the state of Florida," Durbin said.
The bill would cut down the number of early voting days from 35 to 17. It would also eliminate voting on the weekend before an election, as well as removing the law requiring poll workers to direct voters to their proper precinct.
Although he did not present examples, Lake County Republican Party Representative Dale Fellows said there are several instances of voter fraud.
"If we were to talk to pretty much most counties in the state you'll have some kind of situation that may have occurred," Fellows said.
According to him, the weekend before an election is too taxing on workers, which can lead to more mistakes.
"They will tell you that the weekend before the election is one that is so frenzied and occupies them with detail of deploying voting machines and setting up the process, so that it's done in an absolutely flawless manner. And they would prefer to have those three days to make sure Election Day is run without any difficult," Fellows said.
Brown said he believes the claims of voters committing fraud are baseless.
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