Has the time finally come for someone to shout from the roof of the city’s tallest building, “When it comes to accommodating large groups of voters, Jon Husted just doesn’t get it!”
Oh, I know it’s impolite to be so nasty to the Secretary of State. But as we get closer to Election Day, he continues to make a costly farce of the whole business of voting, bounding off from one court to another in hopes of finding somebody besides Ohio Atty. Gen. Mike Dewine to agree with his official antics. It wouldn’t even make a good skit on Saturday Night Live.
The latest entry in Husted’s file is his announcement on Tuesday that he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a ruling by Federal Judge Peter Economus that upheld a suit by the Obama administration to offer early voting on the weekend before the election.
Let’s back up a bit: Husted reacted quickly and sent the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which said it didn’t find anything wrong with the disputed three-day period and declared it was up to each of the 88 county election boards to decide for themselves.
In his message to the 88 boards, Husted hysterically took on the entire federal court system, saying the lower court action was “an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts on how states run elections and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections.”
Claiming that Ohio has a broad policy with many options for voters he noted that voters already have “at least 230 hours available to vote in person prior to Election Day”.
At this point we run into a fork in Husted’s paved road to the polls. Near the end of his treatise to the local boards, he says that although his goal is solely to create uniform voting among the counties, he will now “consult with all 88 counties before crafting a directive to set uniform hours” should his latest appeal fall his way. Fat chance of clarity on this one.
In Cuyahoga County, Nick Martin, the Democrats executive director, called Husted’s gambit “silly.” “In 2008. a Democratic year, and in 2010, a Republican year, the system worked. It’s not partisan. It works. Why change it?” He added that Husted was now “displaying a vain act” that defies “common sense.”
In Summit County, the two Democrats on the Elections Board have already voted in favor of the week-end hours but the decision was stonewalled by Republican board member Ray Weber, who left the table to declare the vote invalid because there was no quorum. A scheduled board meeting on Tuesday was postponed for a week to allow the other GOP member, Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff to return after an absence caused by his injuries from an auto accident.
Summit board member Tim Gorbach, a Democrat, was openly puzzled by Husted’s latest ploy. “Nobody expected this, ‘ he said.
What are his expectations for the next meeting?
“It will be the usual barrel of monkeys,” he said.
The only question left: Why is Husted, recently described in the papers as a “rising Republican star”, so eager to challenge what the courts have ruled? Couldn’t be voter fraud. The Republicans lost that argument weeks ago. Could he have miscalculated the burden of having to carry so much baggage with so many voters? That seems more likely. The clock is ticking to Election Day with the Ohio system of early voting still as vague as ever.
Can you think of any valid reason for this swamp? Electing Mitt Romney?