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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 7/22/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Husted visits with Board of Elections

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted journeyed to Toledo today to help get the newly reconstituted Lucas County Board of Elections off on the right foot.

The four-member board met in official session for the first time and the board members elected Brenda Hill, a former president of the Toledo Board of Education, as chairman.

“I’m confident that you’re going to put in place what needs to be done to restore … confidence to the people of Lucas County as it relates to the Board of Elections. I am grateful for your service. You’re capable of not just doing a good job but a great job,” Mr. Husted said.

“I’m confident they’re beginning the process of restoring a culture of competence and cooperation,” Mr. Husted said after the meeting.

As chief election official for Ohio, Mr. Husted in June removed three board members saying the board was mired in a culture of dysfunction, and left Democrat John Irish in place. Mr. Husted appointed Ms. Hill based on the nomination of the Lucas County Democratic Party, but rejected the appointees of the Lucas County Republican Party, instead selecting Mark Wagoner Sr. and Peter Handwork to fill the Republican seats.

The Lucas County GOP has sued in the Ohio Supreme Court to reverse Mr. Husted‘‍s appointments. Mr. Husted is a Republican.

Absent from the meeting was Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County GOP and one of those removed from the board. Mr. Stainbrook said he was not given advance notice of Mr. Husted’‍s appearance and said he had scheduled campaign activities he could not skip.

Asked to comment on a recent decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene in a lawsuit against the state over its election law, Mr. Husted boasted of Ohio’‍s early voting access compared to that in New York, which has no early voting.

“You can vote 24 hours a day, seven days a week for nearly a month in Ohio, and you can vote one day in Eric Holder‘‍s home state of New York. Perhaps he should look at what’‍s going on at home rather than what‘‍s going on in Ohio,” Mr. Husted said.

The U.S. Department of Justice last week said it would get involved in the federal lawsuit challenging Ohio’s Republican-passed law narrowing the window for early voting before the election.

Also today, the elections board set a date of Aug. 21 to decide on the challenge filed against Jack Ford’s status as an independent candidate for the state Senate. The Lucas County Democratic Party filed a protest saying Mr. Ford doesn’t fit the legal definition of an independent because he voted a Democratic ballot in the May 6 election.

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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