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Ohio Elections Chief Removes Democrats Who Refused To Obey Voting Directive

Two renegade board members in Montgomery County had refused to follow the Ohio Secretary of State's order regarding voting hours in the state. The two Democrats who sought weekend voting were removed today.

Posted on August 28, 2012, at 4:49 p.m. ET

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted speaks at an even in Montgomery County.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted speaks at an even in Montgomery County.

In a state where every vote could matter this November, the Republican Secretary of State has made it clear that the election is going to be run the way that he says it will be run.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has removed Montgomery County Elections Board members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. for having "knowingly and willfully violated Ohio election law" — a directive Husted issued regarding voting hours. The pair said in a statement that they have not decided whether they will take any legal action to attempt to overturn the action, which they characterize as a "firing." Husted said they were "dismissed."

Husted's office had argued to a hearing examiner, who was appointed by Husted and recommended the removal on Monday, that the pair failed to follow a directive he had earlier issued that set voting hours for the county elections boards. The pair had voted to keep voting hours in Montgomery County open on weekends in the run-up to the election, hours that were outside of the listed hours in Husted's directive.

Lieberman, one of the board members, said in the statement, “I’m disappointed, but not surprised. [Secretary] Husted is trampling on the rights of voters in this state and he will target anyone who dares to stand up to his suppressive acts."

Ritchie said, "Husted has acted rashly every step of the way so today’s decision is unfortunate yet not unexpected. The losers here are the voters and our democracy. Voters want the polls open on weekends and evenings so give the people what they want."

Husted's Removal Letter