After previously trying to restrict early voting, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) today reversed course on his decision to block county boards of elections from setting their own early voting hours in the days leading up to the November election.
Last month, Husted and Ohio Republicans led an effort to limit early voting hours in Democratic counties, including those with major cities like Columbus and Cleveland, while expanding early voting in Republican counties. After the ensuing uproar, Husted moved to restrict voting hours across the state, only to have his cuts to early voting restored by a federal court.
Husted responded to the ruling by refusing to comply with the court order. Expanding voting hours, he claimed in Directive 2012-40, will “only serve to confuse voters.” Therefore, the directive read, he was “prohibit[ing] county boards of elections from determining hours for the Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday before the election.” The move led Judge Peter Economus to set a hearing for September 13: “The Court ORDERS that Defendant Secretary of State Jon Husted personally attend the hearing,” his release read.
Husted finally backed down and democracy wins out — at least, until Husted appeals the decision. That won’t happen in time for this election though. The GOP effort rig an election and steal Ohio has ended. In this battle of Republicans v. freedom, freedom wins.