Husted Caves & Sets Uniform Voting Hours, Picks Fight With Montgomery BoE
Sorry I didn’t get around to posting this earlier. But for those of you who didn’t hear already, on Wednesday, Secretary of State Jon Husted caved under a barrage of national bad publicity and outrage, and set uniform voting hours for the entire state. This was just ahead of the Hamilton County Board of Elections vote on whether to allow extended in-person early voting hours scheduled for yesterday, which showed signs of stirring up still more blowback for Husted from angry citizens.
Naturally, Husted, who shows every sign of trying to top the infamous Ken Blackwell as Ohio’s most partisan SoS ever, calculated how he could do the most damage to Democratic voters and the least to Republicans. So he opted to extend hours slightly beyond the regular workday, convenient for that attorney who wants to drop by after work. But he allowed no weekend hours, which shuts down the big black churches that were filling buses and taking them down to the board of elections to vote.
Obviously, the more limited hours are less of a problem in Vinton County, with a population of 13,000, than Cuyahoga, with 1,300,000 people. But at least it doesn’t give Republican counties an extra-special gold-plated advantage in voting.
But wait — it gets worse.
Unlike Cuyahoga, Lucas, and Franklin counties, where Husted broke ties by siding with Republicans who wanted to limit voting hours, Montgomery County — Dayton — had already voted to extend in-person early voting, including some weekends.
Today, for some reason I’m having a hard time figuring out, the Montgomery County Board of Elections held a second vote today on weekend hours, with a tie this time: Republicans against, Democrats for:
Obviously, since Husted’s Wednesday directive, this vote was just symbolic, and it was clear that Husted would break the tie to override it.
End of story? Not when a hyper-partisan democracy-hating attack dog like Husted is involved.
He demanded that the board meet again to rescind the motion offered by Democrat Dennis Lieberman — or the Democrats on the board would be fired.
He says, and the Dayton Daily News repeats, that state law allows the SoS to fire board members for not following a directive. That may be so, but it’s clear that they weren’t going to have the opportunity to not follow the directive. So Husted firing Lieberman and fellow Democratic board member Tom Ritchie is nothing but bullying and dick-swinging.
In an email, Ohio Democratic Party Chris Redfern called Husted’s action “outrageous and borderline criminal.” That’s accurate. Husted’s contempt for democracy is blatant.
Nearly 29,000 voters in Dayton and Montgomery County voted during extended hours in 2008 and that's one reason Barack Obama is president today and running for reelection.
This isn't just a Democratic or a Republican issue; this is an American issue. We absolutely cannot let Husted intimidate or fire people that are committed to helping Ohioans exercise their most fundamental freedom, the right to vote.
Amen. I have a feeling though that the more Husted pisses people off, the more determined people will be to vote. I recall 2006, when the ID law went into effect, and everyone was predicting hordes of voters showing up without it and not coming back. That didn't happen. I suspect the Obama campaign and its GOTV team will be figure out ways to get their voters to the polls.
And Husted? Payback is a bitch.