Thanks to a decision by Federal Judge Peter Economus, Ohioans will have the opportunity to cast in-person ballots on the last three days before an election. This significant win for Ohio voters was the result of a lawsuit, OFA v. Husted, filed nearly two years ago to protect equal access to the polls during the early voting period.
Secretary of State Jon Husted now wants to claim victory despite losing the lawsuit at every step of the process, including the United States Supreme Court. This is evidenced by recent press releases from his office that have attempted to rewrite history.
When Husted issued a directive earlier this month requiring Boards of Elections to be open for early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before an election — something he was ordered to do — he said, “The federal court has affirmed what I have long advocated: That all voters in Ohio should have the same opportunity to vote.”
If that were true there never would have been a lawsuit in the first place.
Here are the facts. Beginning in 2012, Husted fought to allow only certain Ohioans to cast in-person ballots on the last three days of early voting. When challenged in court about this unequal and unconstitutional treatment of voters, he resisted changing the policy through a lengthy appeal process. I know this because the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus participated in the litigation when we filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court.
Many months ago the Secretary of State could have admitted defeat, settled the case and protected the rights of voters. Prolonging the lawsuit cost the state thousands of dollars in legal fees. Now he wants us to believe he meant to give voters equal access all along, not withstanding his legal maneuvers to the contrary. Ohio voters are smarter than that.
State Sen. Joe Schiavoni,
Ohio Senate Minority Leader