COLUMBUS – Today, Secretary of State Jon Husted aired his first ad of the campaign championing what his office has done to assist military voters. However, what the ad fails to mention is that virtually everything Husted did was required by federal law after Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009, which amended the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
The MOVE Act mandated that States provide electronic access to military voters to the election process, mail absentee ballots to military voters 45 days before the election, and develop an electronic tracking system for military and overseas voters to check whether their ballots were received and counted. In other words, the very things Husted is boasting in his ad are all things mandated by federal law.
In response to Husted’s campaign, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement:
“Given the number of times that federal courts have ruled that Jon Husted has violated the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act, it is pathetic that Husted is touting an instance in which he actually followed the law as if it were an achievement, not his duty. Husted’s ad is tragically ironic given it airs the day after Husted and Mike DeWine filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to block active military voters, members of the Ohio National Guard, and our veterans from enjoying the early voting opportunities they’ve used in past elections. Ohio deserves a Secretary of State that respects the laws and the voters like State Senator Nina Turner.”
An August poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Ohio Democratic Party showed Jon Husted narrowly ahead of Senator Nina Turner by 46% to 43%.
Yesterday, Jon Husted filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Supreme Court to block evening and weekend early voting hours from taking effect next week. After losing both at the district court level and with an unanimous opinion by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Secretary of State Jon Husted filed an emergency motion with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court from blocking the restoration of weekend and early evening hours the federal courts have found Husted unconstitutionally took away from Ohio voters. [Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer (9/25/2014), “Ohio asks Supreme Court to intervene in court fight over early voting.”]
Jon Husted supported cutting early voting days by a week. According to theColumbus Dispatch, Secretary of State Husted recommends that “early voting would instead start 29 days before the election” but it end during the afternoon “the Sunday before the general election.” Currently, Ohio law permits early voting for thirty-five days before the general election. [Source: Columbus Dispatch, (10/24/2013), “Husted promotes limits on early voting.”
Federal courts had already ruled that Husted’s prior attempts to cut general election early voting days were illegal when he tried to carve out an exception for military voters. In 2012, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Ohio ruled that Ohio could not cut off in-person early voting the Friday before the general election for all but active duty military voters. Republicans attempted to reduce the number of days of early voting, but the Ohio General Assembly reversed them after HB 194 was threatened with a referendum campaign. [Source: Reuters (8/31/12), “Court overturns Ohio early voting restrictions in win for Democrats.”]
The decision to declare Republicans’ attempt to cut off early voting before Election Day was unconstitutional was upheld by federal appellate courts. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision declaring the restriction “unconstitutional.” “The court acknowledged an argument that ‘low-income and minority voters are disproportionately affected by elimination’ of the three days of polling for many voters and said ‘there is no definitive evidence… that elections boards would be tremendously burdened’ by returning poll access to the standard before recent changes to the state’s laws.”
[Source: CNN (10/5/2012), “Federal court upholds Ohio early voting ruling.”]
According to official records maintained by Jon Husted’s own office, more than 600,000 Ohioans used Early Voting in 2012. [Source: Ohio Secretary of State’s website, 2012 “Absentee Ballot Report.”]