Friday, November 09, 2012

Jon Husted Just Can't Help Himself - Gets Hand Caught In Cookie Jar Again

Jon Husted, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, is responsible for confusion regarding voting in Ohio.  Husted first cut the hours for early voting in Ohio, but was overruled by a federal judge.  Then Husted defied the judge's orders, even going so far as to fire two election board officials (Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie) who made it clear they were not going to follow Husted's refusal to comply with the judge, until the judge ordered Husted to appear before him.  That prompted Husted to allow the early voting as previously ordered.

Then, on the Friday before the election, Husted tried to pull a fast one again, this time deciding to make it the voter's responsibility to correctly fill in a provisional ballot form if the voter was facing a contested vote. This procedure was part of the poll worker's responsibility and, in fact, US District Judge Algenon Marbley had already put in place how the poll worker was to effect the contested voter's ballot.  So guess who got pissed off?  Yup, Judge Marbley.

THE COURT: Mr. Epstein, would you agree that voting is the linchpin of our democracy?

MR. EPSTEIN: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: I do too. What concerned me about the 2012-54 directive is that it was filed on a Friday night at 7 p.m. The first thought that came to mind was democracy dies in the dark. So, when you do things like that that seeks to avoid transparency, it appears, then that gives me great pause but even greater concern. So, if anyone I’m going to give additional time to, it’s going to be you, Mr. Epstein, because you have a lot of explaining to do.

Show me the facts that the secretary used to make the decision to change this directive at seven o'clock on a Friday night on the eve of an election.  I want to see it, and I want to see it now.  Show it to me. 

MR. EPSTEIN:  Your Honor, I have no legislative history to present to the Court.
I, for one, would not relish being in Mr. Epstein's shoes! Read the transcript here.

As it turns out, Mr. Husted's attempts to pull the wool over the court's eyes were for naught as to this election.  As to future elections, Judge Marbley makes his ruling on Monday.

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