After a Wednesday order that his office says bans weekend early voting hours, the Ohio Secretary of State faces rebellion from one county's Democratic members. A confrontation as the election approaches.
A reporter takes a picture with her cell phone as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at a rally in Ohio — a heavily contested battleground state this fall.
Image by JIM WATSON / Getty Images
The top Ohio elections official, a Republican, has threatened to remove from office some Democratic elections board members as the state's regular, bitter battles over voting procedures intensify.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, after setting a uniform standard for early voting hours across the state on Wednesday, is facing a revolt from some Democratic elections board members, who have suggested they will refuse to comply with his new rule.
On Wednesday, Husted had issued a directive that his office says stopped county boards of elections from allowing weekend early voting hours within their counties, but this morning the Democratic members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections ignored the directive, claiming the directive only set a minimum, and voted to allow it.
The county boards of elections, however, consist of two Republicans and two Democrats, so the vote was a deadlock. And, though the Secretary of State breaks any tie votes of the boards under Ohio law, his office instead headed for confrontation.
Elections director Matthew Damschroder sent a letter to the county board, demanding that it "reconvene this afternoon, no later than 3 p.m., to rescind the motion that resulted in a tie this morning."
He continued: "Failure to act consistent with and voting in contravention of a Directive is at best nonfeasance and subjects a Board member to possible removal."
The Democratic opposition to the Wednesday decision comes, in part, because as the Dayton Daily News reported, "Prior to Husted’s ruling Wednesday, each county could dictate its own hours policy for in-person voting."
A spokesman for the Democratic board members in Montgomery County told BuzzFeed that when the county board reconvened this afternoon, one Democratic board member, Dennis Lieberman, said he was not altering his vote, which prompted the Republican members to call for the meeting's adjournment.
The move sends the question back to Husted, who also is fighting a lawsuit from the Obama campaign and Democrats about the state's early voting laws and a distinction it draws for in-person early voting for servicemembers and other Ohio voters.