By Marc Kovac
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted has rescinded a directive he issued earlier this week blocking in-person voting on the final three days before the November election.
In a court filing to U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus, Husted acknowledged “his duty to comply” with an order to restore early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Nov. 6 and apologized “for creating the misimpression” that he had any other “compliance disposition.”
According to documents, “The secretary has since learned that the court views the directive as inconsistent with the order. The secretary would never intentionally contravene an order issued by the federal district court or any other court—and this case is no exception.”
Husted also asked Judge Economus to issue a stay of his order last week while an appeal is pending. The move would prevent county elections boards from setting their own hours on the first weekend in November before Husted has an opportunity to issue a directive with uniform hours statewide.
According to the document, “The secretary sought to prevent the setting of nonuniform hours by individual boards of elections and ultimately prevent any confusion for voters. ... the secretary believed this was a reasonable and responsible course of action that was consistent with the order.”
Friday’s filing is the latest in a series of legal maneuvering between Husted and President Barack Obama’s election campaign.
The Obama campaign sued after changes in state law allowed men and women serving in the military to cast early ballots on the three days before Election Day but barred all other eligible voters from doing so.
The campaign argued all eligible voters should be allowed the same early voting opportunities and sought to force Husted to open polls on those days.
Legal counsel for Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine countered that it was constitutional for the state to offer special accommodations to military voters.
Economus last week sided with the Obama campaign, however, and ordered Husted to restore the three days of early voting. Husted and DeWine are appealing the decision.
On Tuesday, Husted issued another directive to county election boards prohibiting them from opening on the days in question before a decision on the appeal is finalized. indicate
Economus has set a Thursday morning hearing on the matter.