Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been tireless in attempting to stop citizens in his state from voting. He has tried to ending the counting of provisional ballots in areas where the ballots were mistakenly cast in the wrong precinct. This is a serious problem in urban areas like Cleveland, where multiple precincts vote at the same polling place. Poll worker error often contributes to this, yet Husted vows to disenfranchise those voters anyway. You could expect tens of thousands of provisional ballots to get trashed for this reason. This is still held up in court, with outside groups so far successful in forcing the counting of these ballots. But the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals plans to weigh in very shortly.
Husted also wanted to restrict early voting and ban it the weekend before the election. But federal court judges blocked Husted from implementing the limitations thus far. Undaunted, Husted plans to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court.
“This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into 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.
“This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.
Remember that Husted’s original ruling for early voting would have allowed Republican districts to keep their voting hours open longer and for more days. And he sought to keep options for military voters open while closing them for, say, minorities in Cleveland. So his appeal to equal protection, in light of his previous decisions, is comical.
I doubt that the Supreme Court would choose to intervene here, though of course you never know. But that won’t stop Husted’s well-earned gold star as the hardest-working voter suppressor in America.