Ohio's GOP Secretary of State Backs Down On Weekend Voting Restrictions
Another major voting rights victory may be brewing in Ohio for Democrats.
Ohio's Republican Secretary of State John Husted made a legal u-turn on Friday, telling a federal court that he did not mean to disregard their order that he restore weekend voting on first weekend in November--where upwards of 100,000 Ohoians are expected to vote, including many African-American chuchgoers.
After the U.S. District Court issued that ruling, Husted defiantly issued a directive telling Ohio's 88 county election boards to ignore the ruling--until the legal appeals process played out. That infuriated the judge, who ordered Husted to appear in court and explain his actions.
According to Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog, Husted filed new legal papers today essentially apologizing but also asking the Court to suspend its weekend voting order.
"After the Obama campaign sought a direct order from the Court requiring Husted to set early voting hours and suggesting that Husted was already disobeying the court’s order, the court ordered Husted to personally appear at the next hearing on this issue.
"Today, Husted rescinded the controversial directive. In a new filing in the district court, Husted apologized to the court, explained his directive and his decision to rescind it, and requested a stay of the district court’s order while the matter is on appeal to the Sixth Circuit."
The bottom line is Husted is now asking the Court to do what he has wanted all along--limit weekend voting on the final weekend before the presidential election. It remains to be seen what will happen in federal court or with a likely appeal. However, for now, it is looking like the U.S. District Court judge who ordered Husted to keep weekend voting open has the upper hand and will stick by that ruling.