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All Ohioans’ votes will count, Husted says

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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted gives the keynote address during a public symposium Friday at the University of Toledo Law School.

The Blade/Lori King
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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said he believes every Ohioan will be able to easily vote in Nov. 6 election — a message somewhat overshadowed by his opinion that recent federal court rulings hinder the state’s ability to run an election.

He was the keynote speaker at a day-long symposium Friday at the University of Toledo college of law. During a half-hour talk, the Republican secretary of state addressed voting accuracy and accessibility and spoke of updates in the state’s voter information that will lead to increased confidence in elections.

Sponsored by the Toledo Law Review, the legal symposium focused on how elections are financed and monitored. Titled “Votes and Voices in 2012: Issues Surrounding the November Election and Beyond,” the conference included four panels discussing issues.

Mr. Husted spoke of a recent federal court decision that he claimed intruded on Ohio’s ability to run its own elections and called it an “un-American approach to voting” — an opinion not shared by many who attended the symposium.

“It’s the job of the federal courts to enforce the Constitution; that includes the right to vote,” said Daniel Tokaji, a professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law who was a panelist at the symposium, after the secretary’s comments. “…We should be doing everything we can to improve access to eligible voters.”

The secretary of state spoke of a recent decision by the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled the state could not prohibit in-person early voting during the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday immediately preceding the Nov. 6 election while expressly allowing military personnel and their families to do so.

In its decision, the court said the state failed to show that allowing early in-person voting on those three days would create a hardship on boards of elections, particularly since they were able to deal with such voting in 2008.

The U.S. Supreme Court this month declined to block the lower-court ruling requiring the state to keep its doors open during the last three days before the election. Mr. Husted said he has set hours of operation for those three days.

Mr. Husted said despite the issues facing “battleground” Ohio, he’s confident every resident’s vote will be counted fairly and accurately. “If you want to vote in Ohio, you can. It’s easy,” he said. “And anybody who says that there are residents in Ohio being barred from the right to vote is irresponsible.”

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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