By Marc Kovac
Two Democratic members of a Dayton-area elections board who were fired by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted for pushing weekend early voting hours took a swipe at the state’s chief elections official Tuesday, calling on Husted to resign from his post after allegedly missing a ballot-related deadline late last month.
Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr., formerly members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said in released statements that Husted was “guilty of nonfeasance” for not ensuring the state ballot board, which he heads, had assigned groups to write proponent and opponent language to be provided to voters for a redistricting reform package appearing on the November ballot.
“It’s pretty simple,” Lieberman said. “He’s the Ohio Ballot Board chairman. By Aug. 23, he was supposed to call the board for a meeting to prepare the ballot language and the argument against Issue 2. He didn’t. He should resign.”
But the secretary of state didn’t actually miss any deadline, his office countered Tuesday. Arguments for and against state Issue 2 were submitted and accepted by an Aug. 20 deadline.
“This is an example of another outlandish claim to create controversy where none exists,” said Matt McClellan, Husted’s spokesman. He added, “We had everything in on the 20th. Both sides submitted arguments on the 20th. ... There were no missed deadlines. ... All statutory deadlines were met.”
The situation came to light when the two Democratic members of the ballot board sent Husted a letter questioning why the board hadn’t designated groups to write Issue 2 arguments.
McClellan said the secretary of state’s office responded to the query with time-stamped copies of the arguments that were submitted. The proponent side was provided by Voters First Ohio, the group behind the amendment, including Ann Henkener, Samuel Gresham Jr., Ellis Jacobs, Richard Gunther and Dan Tokaji.
The opponent side was provided by David Langdon and Protect Your Vote Ohio.
Both are posted online at www.sos.state.oh.us, under the ballot board section of the website.