This came across the wire yesterday:
A Franklin County Common Pleas judge dismissed a lawsuit today that was aimed at blocking the Ohio secretary of state’s order requiring counties to offer paper ballots in the March 4 primary.
Judge Eric Brown ruled that the Union County commissioners, who filed the lawsuit, lack the legal authority to challenge Jennifer L. Brunner’s directive.
The directive applies to county boards of election, not county commissioners, Brown said. Because the Union County Board of Elections did not join the commissioners in the lawsuit, Brown ruled that he lacked the authority to consider whether the directive violates state and federal law.
“Unlike county agencies, boards of election are under the control of and answerable only to the secretary of state and not county officers,” Brown wrote.
All seems pretty basic, yes? Here’s where it gets interesting.
David Moots, chairman of the Union County Board of Elections, was pleased to see the challenge dismissed. He voted to uphold the directive of Brunner, a fellow Democrat, to prepare paper ballots.
“We already had the equipment. We could do it. We just needed to start working,” Moots said. “We’ve wasted a lot of time. Certainly we’ll pull this off, but they left us without much time to get this done.”
Moots attributed the legal challenge to “partisan politics” by Republican officials. County commissioners did not return calls seeking comment.
“I feel like all of our authority was usurped,” Moots said. “I feel pretty helpless up here. What is the purpose of the (elections) board if the commissioners can act in its place?”