Two Democratic county elections officials fired in a dispute over extended voting hours filed a federal lawsuit against the Republican secretary of state on Monday, charging wrongful termination. Former Montgomery County Elections Board members Dennis Lieberman and Thomas Ritchie Sr. said in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Dayton, that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted unjustly fired them after they voted to continue to allow early voting on weekends. Husted has directed election boards in Ohio’s 88 counties to have the same early in-person voting hours on weekdays and no hours on weekends. He fired Ritchie and Lieberman on Aug. 28 after saying they violated that order by pushing to extend early voting to the weekends.
Lieberman and Ritchie say Husted violated their constitutional rights to free speech and to equal protection under the law and due process. They want a judge to order Husted to reinstate them immediately, and they are seeking unspecified compensatory damages. Husted did not immediately return calls to his office Monday.