Secretary of State Jon Husted wants a court to throw out his own directive. Under an order to county elections boards Husted issued on Friday, Ohioans could start voting a week earlier than he’d planned and cast a ballot during the two weekends before Election Day. But at the same time, the Republican is pushing for a higher court to overturn the lower-court ruling that added the days of early voting and eliminate them. Battling in court over when Ohioans can vote has become almost a biennial ritual, seemingly taking place every time the state has a gubernatorial or presidential election. This year, the dispute involves whether voters can start casting ballots on Sept. 30 or Oct. 7, and whether additional hours will be allowed on weekends and evenings.
Husted’s directive came the same day a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the state’s attempt to delay a decision by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus, who ruled on Sept. 4 that Husted, plus the legislature and Gov. John Kasich, had unconstitutionally cut back on Ohio’s early voting period.
A small portion of Economus’ ruling allowing individual counties to add to the mandated hours was one of the bases for Husted’s appeal.
“Though I have complied with the recent ruling by Judge Economus, I must appeal his decision because in allowing counties to set their own schedules, he has once again opened the door to having a patchwork of rules across the state, which is in direct conflict with his previous rulings that insisted upon treating all voters equally,” Husted said in a release.