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Ohio official reverses early voting ban

Sept. 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM   |   Comments

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has rescinded a directive to elections officials to maintain a ban on voting on the three days before the November election.

In a court filing Friday, Husted apologized to U.S. District Judge Peter Economus for what he called the "misimpression" that he had ignored the judge's order on early voting when he directed all 88 Ohio county elections boards not to restore early voting hours.

"The Secretary would never intentionally contravene an order issued by the federal district court or any other court -- and this case is no exception," the filing said.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed an appeal of Economus' Aug. 31 order, and Husted said Tuesday elections boards should hold off on complying with the ruling until the appeal is heard.

"The constitutionality of the statute setting in-person absentee voting hours is still subject to court review and it would further confuse voters to set hours now that the court may change later," Husted's directive to elections officials said.

Economus had ordered Husted Wednesday to appear in court next week to explain why he issued an order to elections officials that defied the judge's ruling clearing the way for weekend voting.

It wasn't clear whether Husted is still required to appear in court next week, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.

The left-leaning Talking Points Memo Web site reported Ohio officials Friday formally requested a stay of Economus' order to restore early voting.

"Absent a stay or a directive by the Secretary, there is a real concern that county boards of elections will begin issuing early in-person absentee voting schedules for the three-day period before the Secretary can issue a uniform schedule," the filing said. "County-by-county action on this issue would only lead to significant administrative difficulties and further voter confusion."

Economus' ruling ordering restoration of early voting came in a lawsuit brought by the Obama campaign and Ohio Democrats, challenging Husted's initial order restricting early voting -- which Ohio Democrats say has mostly been favored by voters in urban areas of the electoral battleground state.

Topics: Mike DeWine
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