The Democratic board of elections members who were removed from their positions by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted in August have sued him in federal court, asking to be reinstated.
The lawsuit comes ahead of a Sept. 11 deadline that Husted set for the Montgomery County Democratic Party to send him the names of two new Democrats to serve on the board. The lawsuit asks for that process to be put on hold until their lawsuit can be resolved.
The dispute developed when the two Democratic members of the four-member board in Montgomery County, Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr., voted to allow for weekend early voting hours in the county. Husted and his office interpreted that move as violating an earlier Husted directive that set early voting hours — and did not include any weekend hours. Lieberman and Ritchie claim that the directive was ambiguous, and that they believe the directive only set a minimum for early voting hours.
Husted disagreed, and, following a hearing by an officer appointed by Husted, removed Lieberman and Ritchie. They now are asking to be reinstated, citing their "combined experience of almost thirty years in managing the complexities of the election process in Montgomery County," noting that three board members are required for a quorum to do business, and arguing that new board members appointed now "would be at the start of a learning curve that could have a negative effect" on the election administration in the county.
Democratic Board Members' Ohio Lawsuit
Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.