Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Friday rescinded a directive that blocked boards of election from setting in-person early voting hours over the final three days leading up to Election Day. The Republican secretary’s decision was in response to a federal judge who this week ordered Husted to appear in his court on Sept. 13 because the directive appears to not adhere to a recent U.S. District Court ruling. On Aug. 30, Judge Peter C. Economus, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, ruled that a new state law – which would have shut down early voting after 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, until the polls opened on Tuesday, Nov. 6 – is unconstitutional. His written opinion added: “This court anticipates that defendant Secretary of State will direct all Ohio elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on those three days.”
The lawsuit was brought by Democratic President Barack Obama’s campaign and named Husted as a defendant. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican, has already said that the state will appeal. Husted responded to the court today, in light of Economus ordering the secretary to court next week, by dropping its directive that barred the 88 local boards of election from setting voting hours Nov. 3 thru 5. But Husted is not yet ready to comply with the judge’s order. Instead, he has asked for a stay of Economus’ ruling while the state appeal’s the decision.
“The secretary would never intentionally contravene an order issued by the federal district court or any other court — and this case is no exception. Therefore, the secretary has today rescinded,” read a court response filed by Husted’s attorneys. “The secretary respectfully requests that this court stay the order pending appeal.” By asking for a stay of the original ruling until the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether to hear the case, Husted hopes to avoid having to set the voting hours for those final three days until after the appeal is resolved.