by German Lopez
U.S. Supreme Court could be next stop for early voting during final three days before election
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will appeal a ruling that expanded voting during the three days before Election Day to all Ohioans. If the appeal is approved, the early voting issue will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. On Friday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with President Barack Obama's campaign and the Democrats when it said voting during the weekend and Monday before Election Day must include all Ohioans. Previously, the three early voting days only applied to military personnel and their families.
The appeals court ruling passed the final decision behind the
three voting days to the county boards of elections and Husted.
Unless Husted enacts uniform rules like he has done in the past,
boards of elections will decide whether voting will still take place on
those days. If there is a tie vote, Husted will be the tie breaker. In a statement, Husted hinted at setting uniform rules if the appeal is unsuccessful: “Since some boards of elections have already started to take action on
hours of operation for the three days before Election Day, I am going
to take time to consult with all 88 counties before crafting a
directive to set uniform hours should the state not be successful upon
In the past, Husted argued voting procedures should
ideally be “locked down” months before Election Day. But with this appeal to
the Supreme Court, the rules will remain up in the air.Ohio Republicans have repeatedly blocked any expansion of
in-person early voting, citing racial politics and costs. Doug Preisse,
close adviser to Gov. John Kasich and chairman of the Franklin County
Republican Party, said in an email to The Columbus Dispatch on Aug. 19, “I
guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to
accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”
Black voters tend to favor Democrats by big margins.
by Andy Brownfield
Rep. Alicia Reece says Husted's appeal of two court decisions will confuse voters
A state legislator from Cincinnati wants the U.S. Justice Department to monitor the 2012 election in Ohio to ensure fairness.
Rep. Alicia Reece, D-Cincinnati, sent a letter to U.S.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday asking him to send federal
elections monitors to watch over polling in Ohio this November.
Reece’s letter points to what she calls potential voter
confusion resulting from two federal court decisions over provisional
ballots and in-person early voting — decisions that have been appealed
by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
“We need to ensure that Ohio has a smooth and fair election this November,” Reece wrote in an emailed statement.
“These two federal court decisions are a step in the right
direction for voters in Ohio, but the appeals processes are confusing
for voters. The presence of federal elections monitors will help restore
the integrity of the voting process. The entire country is looking at
The first court decision ruled that county boards of
elections must count certain defective ballots if the mistakes were
caused by poll worker error. U.S.
District Judge Algenon Marbley ordered Husted to issue provisional
ballot envelopes with a checklist for poll workers to follow.
Husted has argued that allowing those ballots to be
counted conflicts with existing Ohio law that does not allow defective
provisional ballots to be counted.
The second court decision required Husted to allow in-person early voting for the three days leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
Husted had issued a directive to all 88 Ohio counties to
not allow voting on those days, and then ordered county boards to
suspend in-person early voting while he appealed the court’s ruling. He
rescinded that order after the judge ordered him to appear in court in
regards to the directive.
Reece was joined by area clergy and community leaders to announce the letter in a Wednesday morning news conference.
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Ohioans will choose whether or not to
pass redistricting amendment Issue 2 in November, and the Ohio Supreme
Court says Secretary of State Jon Husted needs to make the ballot
language more clear for voters. In a bit of a surprise, the Ohio Supreme
Court on Sept. 12 ruled against Husted’s ballot language, stating that it
contained “material omissions and factual inaccuracies.”
by German Lopez
As other states come under fire, Ohio hints at voter ID law
It seems Ohio may soon get a controversial voter ID law.
While speaking at a Tea Party event in Cincinnati on Monday, Secretary of State
Jon Husted said the General Assembly is likely to take up a voter ID law
after the November election.
“I was listening to a show one night where they talked
about these onerous rules, these onerous photo ID rules and the onerous
rules in Ohio on photo ID,” he said. “Well, the photo ID law in Ohio is
not onerous. As a matter of fact, I suspect the General Assembly will
take up a more strict version of what we have after what we’ve been
through with this election process.”
Later on, an audience member commented on the issue by
pointing out Ohioans can currently identify themselves with 12 different
types of ID. In response, Husted clarified his position: “We need to
streamline that because it’s really hard for a poll worker to know
exactly what they’re supposed to be checking. And I’m quite confident
the legislature is going to take that issue up.”
Under current Ohio law, voters can go to the polls with
state ID cards, driver’s licenses, military IDs, utility bills,
paychecks, bank statements and other forms of ID. Republicans have sometimes
criticized the many options, particularly for not being state-issued and not requiring a photo.
Other states have taken up voter ID laws. Pennsylvania’s
controversial law requires voters to have state-issued photo
ID. A Pennsylvania court recently upheld the law, but the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court vacated the decision today and asked the lower court to
reconsider. The ruling from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gives lower
courts room to strike down the law.
Democrats criticize ID laws for suppressing voters. A study from researchers
at the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis
found nearly 700,000 young, minority voters will be unable to
cast a ballot due to voter ID laws. Both young and minority voters tend
to side with Democrats.
Republicans say the laws are necessary to protect elections from
voter fraud. However, studies suggest in-person voter fraud is not a
serious, widespread issue. A News21 report, a Carnegie-Knight
investigative reporting project that looked at national public records,
found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter fraud since 2000. That’s less
than one case a year nationwide.
The audio clips from the event, which was provided by the Ohio Democratic Party, can be heard here and here.
Husted’s office could not be immediately reached for comment. This story will be updated if a comment becomes available.UPDATE (4:25 P.M.): Matt McClellan, spokesperson for Husted, called CityBeat after this story was published."The Tea Party has generally been critical of the secretary's position on voter ID," he said, referring to Husted's past opposition of strict voter ID laws. "The comments he made at the event last night were environmental in general about what the secretary thought had been happening at the statehouse. His position, in general, is unchanged."When pressed about what Husted meant when he advocated for "streamlining" laws, McClellan said Husted supported "simplification" of the current system. McClellan could not offer more details on what that means, and he said specifics would be up to the legislature to decide.
Chris Redfern, Ohio Democratic Party chairman, responded to Husted’s suggestions in a statement: “As
if Secretary of State Husted has not done enough to undermine access to
Ohio’s polls, now he’s planning a secret post-Election Day assault on
what forms of identification voters can present to cast a ballot. It’s
no surprise that after slashing voting access across the state, using
his office for partisan advantage, and lying about Issue 2, now Husted
is making plans to create obstacles for African Americans and seniors to
by German Lopez
More bad news for Secretary of State Jon Husted. The Ohio Supreme Court
told Husted his approved ballot language for Issue 2 contains “factual
inaccuracies” and must be rewritten by the Ballot Board. Voters First
previously contested the language as misleading to voters. If
approved by voters, Issue 2 will put an independent citizens commission
in charge of redistricting. Under the current system, state officials
redraw borders, sometimes using the process for political advantage. In
Cincinnati’s district, the Republican-controlled process redrew the
district to include Warren County, giving the district more rural voters
that tend to side with Republicans instead of urban voters that tend to
side with Democrats. Voters First mocked the process with a graph
showing how redistricting decisions can sometimes be made in 13 minutes
with no questions asked. CityBeat covered the redistricting process here when Issue 2 was still in the petition process.
Ohio’s median income dropped last year, according to a new
report from the U.S. Census Bureau. But rates of poverty and uninsured
rates remained the same. Nationwide, uninsured rates dropped from 16.3
percent in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2011, meaning 1.4 million people
gained health coverage. Some of that is attributable to health-care reform passed by President Barack Obama.Former University of Cincinnati President Greg Williams is
getting a pretty nice going-away present. The Board of Trustees approved
a package for Williams that adds up to more than $1.2 million. It
includes a bonus, retirement benefits, consulting fees, a year’s salary
and a contract buyout. Williams abruptly left UC on Aug. 21, citing
Homeless shelters will cost more than expected, says 3CDC.
The nonprofit group said it will cost about $40 million to build three
homeless shelters and help finance others.
With the support of Democrats and Republicans, the Ohio
legislature approved pension reforms yesterday. The reforms lower benefits, raise
contributions requirements, increase the retirement eligibility age, establish new cost-of-living guidelines and set a new
formula to calculate benefits, all for future retirees. For the most part, current retirees are
not affected. Senate President Tom Niehaus, a Republican, said, “We know
the changes are not popular, but they are necessary.” Before the
changes, the system was losing $1 million a day, according to a
statement from Rep. Robert Hagan, a Democrat.Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is pushing against banks that
take advantage of college students. In a letter to Higher One, Brown
told the bank to rework its contracts with universities. Brown wrote in
the letter, “Federal student aid programs should help students prepare
for the future, not extract fee income from them.” He went on to ask the
bank to redo its contracts so they are “consumer-friendly and
consistent with reforms that Congress enacted for the credit card
market.”Ohio’s inspector general found ODJFS wrongly reimbursed
organizations in central Ohio with federal stimulus funds when the
organizations did not follow rules.Vice President Joe Biden was in Dayton yesterday. During his speech, he spoke about the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which led to the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Biden vowed justice will be served.Presidential candidate Mitt Romney unleashed a big foreign
policy gaffe yesterday when he politicized the attack on the U.S.
embassy in Libya. The attack was revealed to cause the death of Stevens after Romney made his comments.Math shows homeopathy, a trend in medicine, is implausible.
by German Lopez
Montgomery County election officials sue secretary of state over firings
Secretary of State Jon Husted has not had a good year.
He’s dealt with his party's early voting policies, which are only
defended by racial politics and costs, and he was sued by President
Barack Obama’s campaign to restore in-person early voting for the
weekend and Monday before Election Day — a lawsuit he lost. Now he’s being sued by two
Democratic Montgomery County Board of Elections officials he fired.Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie filed a lawsuit today
claiming wrongful termination. The election officials claim they were
wrongly fired when Husted suspended then fired the men for refusing to
follow uniform in-person early voting hours he established.
In a statement, Lieberman said Husted was setting a bad
example with the terminations: “We believe SOS Husted was wrong when he
unjustly fired us. He violated our free speech and the free speech of
other county elections board members. SOS Husted fired us and then dared
other election board members to try and stand up for the voters in
The Montgomery County Democrats refused to abide by
Husted’s uniform voting hours because they did not include weekend
voting. The Dayton-area officials saw the hours as a step back.
“Dennis and I did nothing wrong,” Ritchie said in a
statement. “We knew that 11,000 Montgomery County residents voted during
early weekend hours in 2008. The county has the money to pay for the
extended hours. We were only trying to give people a fair chance to
However, the Montgomery County Democrats did break the
rules. The whole point of uniform voting hours, which Husted established
due to outcries from Democrats about county-by-county voting hour discrepancies, is uniformity. If any county gets more or less hours, the
entire premise is broken.Husted's office could not be immediately reached for comment
over the lawsuit. This story will be updated if comments become available.UPDATE (4:50 P.M.): Husted's office issued a statement in response to the lawsuit after this story was published, crediting the statement to Husted: “Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Ritchie were fired for breaking election law.
They are free to say what they want, but they are not free to do what
Republicans have had a difficult time defending their
anti-early voting policies. Doug Preisse, close adviser to Gov. John
Kasich and Franklin County Republican chairman, defended the policies
perhaps too bluntly when he wrote in an email to The Columbus Dispatch,
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process
to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout
Republicans have also cited costs. But as Ritchie said,
Montgomery County has the money to pay for more early voting. A previous
analysis from CityBeat also found extending early voting hours comes at a fraction of a percent of Hamilton County’s budget.
by German Lopez
Vice President Joe Biden was in town over the weekend.
During the stop, he outlined “fundamental differences” between President
Barack Obama’s campaign and Mitt Romney’s campaign. Specifically, he
criticized the Romney-Ryan plan of turning Medicare into a voucher system.
The visit also unveiled a new fake, pointless controversy in the media
when a female biker almost sat on Biden’s lap.Secretary of State Jon Husted backed down on telling
county boards of elections to not begin implementing in-person early
voting for the weekend and Monday before Election Day. On Aug. 31, a
federal judge ruled Husted must enact in-person early voting for the
extra days. Following the case, Husted sent out Directive 2012-40
ordering county boards of elections to not enact in-person early voting
rules until the court case granting extra hours was appealed and
re-ruled on. The judge responded to the directive by asking Husted to
explain himself in court. But Husted backed down by sending out
Directive 2012-42, which rescinds Directive 2012-40. Republicans have
consistently attempted to block more voting hours in the past few
months, citing racial politics and costs.A CityBeat analysis found cuts in the public sector are partly to blame for the unemployment rate.The identity of the man behind a super PAC supporting
senatorial candidate Josh Mandel, lying extraordinaire, has been revealed. The group is Government Integrity Fund, and it is headed by
Columbus lobbyist Tom Norris. The group also employs former Mandel aide
Joe Ritter.Criminals might face stiffer penalties for gun-related
violations due to a new Butler County policy. Critics say the policy
will cost the taxpayer more money.The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreclosure
sale notices cannot be distributed via websites. The court said
institutions have to notify customers more directly.The Enquirer shined some light into its paywall
model in an editorial by CEO Margaret Buchanan yesterday. In the
editorial, Buchanan acknowledges the newspaper’s duty to “watchdog
journalism” to keep organizations and people in check.Cincinnati web designers were quite busy in 2011.The Ohio Board of Education is meeting today and tomorrow.
The agenda seems pretty packed, but it’s possible the board could
release more details about the search for state superintendent at the
meeting. The board will consider how to transition into the third
grade reading guarantee recently passed into law by the Ohio legislature
and Gov. John Kasich.An ammonia leak caused an evacuation at a food processing plant yesterday.A pizza owner in Florida really loves Obama. Florida is
considered a major swing state in the presidential election. However,
the race may not be as close as the media’s fairness machine seeks to
make it seem. Recent aggregate polling at FiveThirtyEight and
RealClearPolitics is moving heavily in Obama’s direction in swing states
and the national level. That could be attributed to volatility caused
by political conventions, but the trend favoring Obama has been
consistent for some time now.The Romney campaign flip-flopped on Obamacare only to
flip-flop back in a matter of hours. The campaign has been repeatedly
criticized for lacking substance — much to the apathy of both Romney and
Ryan — and this does not help.Popular Science scientifically analyzed why former President Bill Clinton is so good at giving speeches.
by German Lopez
A federal judge is ordering Secretary of State Jon Husted
to appear in court to explain why Husted is ignoring a recent ruling. The judge
ruled Friday that Husted must enact in-person early voting for all
voters on the weekend and Monday before Election Day. Husted told county
boards of elections to ignore the ruling until after an appeal process.
Republicans have consistently blocked the expansion of early voting,
citing racial politics and costs.After a merger with Progress Energy, Duke Energy will
rebrand itself. The details are sparse, but CEO Jim Rogers promised in a
letter last week that the company will be going some big changes. Even a
name change was hinted at in the letter, which promised the commission
“a rollout of the new logo and name-change occurring at the end of the
first quarter of 2013 and beginning of the second quarter.” An activist group is demanding the U.S. Department of
Labor investigate allegations that Murray Energy forced its miners in
Bealsville, Ohio to attend a campaign rally for presidential candidate
Mitt Romney. CREDO Action, the group filing the petition, wants the
Department of Labor to see if any laws were broken in the process.
Murray Energy’s CEO says workers were told the campaign rally “was
mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” But that explanation makes
no sense.Cincinnati hospitals and medical centers saw higher
expenses and revenues in the past few fiscal years. Urban hospitals and
centers in particular were more likely to see higher costs and income,
while rural hospitals and centers sometimes saw decreases.Voters First is mocking the redistricting system with a
new graph. The graph shows a real email exchange between politicians
carving out districts for personal gain. The exchange only lasts 13
minutes and has no questions asked before Republican redistricting officials agree
to redraw a district to benefit Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican. Voters First also held
a 13-minute press conference to mock the exchange further and explain
the redistricting process.I-75 will be undergoing a massive widening project starting in 2021. The project is estimated to cost $467 million.Three downtown buildings have been sold to 3CDC for $10. The company currently has no plans for the buildings.Ohio is hosting an international venture capital
conference. The National Association of Seed and Venture Funds
conference is in Cleveland between Oct. 15 and 17. The nonprofit
organization has 200 members, and 22 of them are in Ohio. Venture
capital has come under fire during the current campaign season due to
Romney’s campaign and Romney’s work as CEO of Bain Capital.The Miami University frat that was suspended is dropping
its $10 million lawsuit. The frat was suspended after a fireworks
battle led to police finding illegal substances inside the frat.Ohio farmers from all counties are now seeking disaster aid after severe storms and drought hurt crops this summer.Former Gov. Ted Strickland got “God” and “Jerusalem” put
back in the Democratic Party’s official platform. There was some booing
after the pandering addition was made. Former President Bill Clinton made a speech defending
President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention last night.
In the speech, Clinton points out that Republicans were in power when
the recession began, and Obama inherited a horrible situation from them.
But Clinton passed the largest deregulatory law in history when in 1999 he repealed the
Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, and the severe lack of regulation is
often blamed for the financial crisis that helped spur the Great
Recession.A scientist is linking global warming to the amount of exploding stars in the sky.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
In a statement on Aug. 22, Secretary of
State Jon Husted said of early voting, “The rules are set and are not
going to change.” Husted made the comment in an attempt to end
discussion over in-person early voting hours.
Unfortunately for Husted, a federal judge
by German Lopez
A federal judge ruled that in-person early voting in Ohio
must be extended to include the weekend and Monday before Election Day
for all voters. The ruling is a result of President Barack Obama’s
campaign team and the Democrats filing a lawsuit against Secretary of
State Jon Husted to extend early voting. Attorney General Mike DeWine
has vowed to appeal the ruling. Republicans have consistently blocked
all attempts to expand early voting in Ohio, citing costs and racial
politics.Cincinnati manufacturing is on a big rebound, according to
a new survey. The Cincinnati Purchasing Management Index, which is used
to measure manufacturing in the area, showed some decline in July, but
it is now bouncing back. The news could indicate a wider economic
recovery.Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in town Saturday.
During his speech, Romney pointed fingers to “cheaters” like China,
which Romney believes is unfairly manipulating its currency. (China has
not been manipulating its currency for some time now.) Romney also
rolled out his plan to restore America’s economy by emphasizing small
businesses and cutting government spending. But the Brookings Institute
says the unemployment rate would be at 7.1 percent if it wasn’t for
government cuts passed by state and federal governments in the past few
years. Romney also wants to cut back on the Environmental Protection Agency, which he says is
hurting local jobs with too many regulations.
Some Democrats are calling for Husted to resign. Dennis
Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, both who were fired for attempting to expand
in-person early voting to include weekends despite Husted’s uniform
rules demanding no weekend hours, said in a press release Husted should resign for missing a
critical deadline. The deadline was to establish the ballot language and
argument against Issue 2, a ballot initiative supported by Ohio Voters
First that would place redistricting in the hands of an independent
citizens committee. If Issue 2 is not passed, politicians will continue
drawing district boundaries, which typically leads to a process known as
“gerrymandering” that politicians use to redraw districts in
politically beneficial ways. In Cincinnati, gerrymandering has been used
to de-emphasize the urban vote — or African-American vote, according to
Doug Preisse, adviser to Gov. John Kasich — by redrawing district
boundaries to include Warren County. CityBeat previously covered the redistricting issue here.Competition in the Greater Cincinnati area has allowed
some cities to pay less for trash hauling services. Rumpke previously
held a stranglehold on the business, but that seems to be changing with the arrival of legitimate competitors — such as CSI and Forest Green.
The Obama campaign will open its offices in
Cincinnati tomorrow. The Obama team promises to use the offices for a
large ground game.The Ohio Board of Regents is calling on some Ohio colleges
to continue enrolling military veterans despite a temporary disruption
in federal benefits, which was caused by a loss of records.Former Gov. Ted Strickland might run again to knock Gov.
John Kasich out of the spot. Strickland is expected to speak at the
Democratic National Convention today.Rep. John Boehner of Ohio seems to have his geography
confused. At a speech, he said he wants senatorial candidate Josh Mandel
of Ohio to win to "run Harry Reid back to Nevada.” Reid is a U.S.
senator for Nevada.U.S. home prices rose in July by the most in six years.
The news could indicate a recovery in the housing market. The housing
crash is generally attributed as the primary cause of the Great
Recession.The Democratic National Convention is heading into day two
today. The convention is touting the new Democratic platform, which now
includes support for same-sex marriage. At the Ohio delegation in the
convention, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is often cited as a
potential presidential candidate for the 2016 election, criticized Kasich.A cure for baldness could be in stores as soon as five years from now.