The long waits — often two hours or more, in freezing temperatures — at early voting sites in Cleveland and other Ohio cities are both a sad and hopeful sign. Sad, because the sluggishness of the voting system seemed to reflect the partisan cat-and-mouse game that exists in some states over voting rules; election officials in Ohio, working under a Republican secretary of state, failed to provide enough resources to Democratic areas. The long lines are also a hopeful sign, though, because they attested to the lengths to which people will go to exercise their franchise — and the strong demand for weekend voting hours for those whose family and work schedules make voting difficult on Tuesdays.
It’s a lesson that should resonate in Massachusetts, one of only 13 states that allows neither early voting nor absentee balloting without an excuse, such as being out of the country. It’s time to allow some form of weekend voting for those who are simply unable to abandon their work or family responsibilities for an hour or two to vote on Tuesdays.