Ohio must allow in-person voting 3 days before Election Day, court rules

Published: Friday, October 05, 2012 @ 9:30 PM
Updated: Friday, October 05, 2012 @ 9:30 PM

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote or to update your voter registration for the Nov. 6. Local board of elections offices and the Ohio Secretary of State will be open until 9 p.m. that day to accept new and updated registrations. Addresses can be updated online at www.MyOhioVote.com.

The U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday reinstated in-person early voting in Ohio on the three days before the Nov. 6 General Election, handing the Obama campaign, Democrats and voting rights advocates what they see as a major victory. Local county elections boards will decide what office hours to add.

The Sixth Circuit court rules that a 2011 Ohio law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment. That law allowed in-person early voting on the three days prior to the election for military and overseas voters only.

“As a result of this decision, every voters, including military, veterans and overseas voters alongside all Ohioans, will have the same opportunity to vote early through the weekend and Monday before the election,” said Bob Bauer, general counsel for the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.

In July the Obama campaign and state and national Democratic parties sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to reinstate the in-person voting rules that had been in place since 2005 in response to long lines on Election Day. Friday’s ruling could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“My office is reviewing today’s decision by the court as we determine the best course of action moving forward,” Husted said in a news release issued Friday. “On Monday we will make a determination on how to proceed legally and provide administrative guidance to Ohio’s boards of elections.”

Rob Scott, chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, said he supports Husted’s efforts to get uniformity across the state in voting hours.

“We still fully support that and support it going forward,” Scott said.

Husted’s directive that all counties have the same hours for early voting led to his firing in August of former Montgomery County Board of Elections members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr.

Lieberman and Ritchie’s lawsuit over the firing is pending before U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice and could be impacted by Friday’s appeals court ruling because it raises similar constitutional issues, said Montgomery County Board of Elections Deputy Director Steve Harsman.

“I do think it doesn’t hurt our case in any way,” Lieberman said. “It is an exciting ruling and I think it is great for our community.”

The court granted local county boards of election discretion to determine what, if any, early voting hours they will have on the three days prior to the election — which is contrary to Husted’s directive that voting hours be uniform statewide.

“It’s a big victory and it certainly puts the matter back in the laps of the board of elections,” said Ellis Jacobs, of the Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition, which is a member of the Ohio Fair Elections Network.

“All the members of boards should vote to extend voting hours for all voters on those last three days,” Jacobs said. “(The network) is calling on Husted not to appeal it and to announce that if called on to break any tiebreaker he will vote on expanding hours to all voters, military and non-military alike.”

Evidence showed that an estimated 105,000 Ohio voters cast ballots in person on the last three days before the presidential election in 2008, according to the court.

The court ruling said, “Plaintiffs introduced extensive evidence that a significant number of Ohio voters will in fact be precluded from voting without the additional three days of in-person early voting.”

“While we readily acknowledge the need to provide military voters more time to vote, we see no corresponding justification for giving others less time,” the court ruled.

The court ruled that the state did not prove the extra hours would be overly burdensome for boards.

It’s not clear what local boards will do as local officials said they will need to see what their board members decide. Harsman said he will recommend that the hours be expanded to that weekend to reduce long lines on Election Day.

“I think this is a good thing for the citizens of Montgomery County based on the popularity,” Harsman said.

Steve Quillen, director of the Miami County board said his employees are too busy getting ready for Election Day and he will recommend against weekend hours. He said voters have plenty of opportunities to vote in person or by mail, along with casting ballots on Election Day.

“They have 35 days to vote. It’s not like rocket science,” Quillen said.

Warren County board director Kim Antrican said she does not believe having voting on the three days prior to the Nov. 6 election will be a problem for her staff. “It’s just one more thing we have to do,” she said.

Clark County Board of Elections Director Matthew Tlachac said the issue will likely be discussed at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the board of elections meeting and Butler County’s Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro said the board also will likely decide what to do next week.

Bob Hamilton, chairman of the Champaign County Democratic Party, said the board will likely vote on the issue during its meeting Oct. 18. The additional voting days might present an extra challenge due to the additional work and hectic schedule, but Hamilton said increasing access to the polls is usually a good idea.

“My thought is we want to be open as much as possible for the public if the rest of the board agrees to that,” he said.

Staff writers Tiffany Y. Latta, Matt Sanctis and Ed Richter contributed to this story.

Husted says he offers new vision for Ohio

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 7:14 PM

The youngest contender in the Republican race for Ohio governor went straight to the age issue on Monday when asked about 70-year-old Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s decision to run in 2018.

When asked about the newest addition to the race, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said, “‘New’ would not be the way to describe that.”

Husted, 47, said he has “always been friends” with DeWine and volunteered for his U.S. Senate campaign in the 1990s.

But, said Husted, “I’m excited about the opportunity to provide a new generation of leadership for Ohio so that we can win a more prosperous future.”

Dewine campaign spokesman Dave Luketic responded to Husted’s comments by saying, “I am happy to provide him a volunteer spot in the general election.”

RELATED: Mike DeWine running for governor

Husted, formerly of Kettering, has been an elected official since 2000 when he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. DeWine’s first public job was in 1976 when he was elected Greene County prosecutor.

The other Republican contenders are Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, 51, and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, 58, of Wadsworth.

On the Democratic side are Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, 41, former state representative Connie Pillich, 56, of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, 37, of Boardman, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, 53, of Akron.

RELATED: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley running for Ohio governor in 2018

Husted was in Dayton to talk to the Rotary Club at Sinclair Community College. It was billed as an official visit by the secretary of state, but he spent most of his time talking about his vision for Ohio.

“This was not a political speech about me running for governor,” Husted said afterward. “This was a call to action to educate people in Ohio about what I think the challenges that we face are.”

Top among them is an unprepared workforce and the need to better educate children and workers, he said.

“If we don’t do a better job with this generation of kids….we are not going to be the most prosperous nation 30 years from now,” Husted said.

RELATED: Jon Husted running for Ohio governor

He said people are struggling economically and wages are down so they can’t pay for health care and education. He called for change and innovation in the way children are educated.

“There is evidence that if you do things differently you can have better outcomes and spend less money,” Husted said. “In saying that, I recognize that there are some times you’re going to have to spend more money on things, some times you’re going to spend less money on things. It’s priority setting and a willingness to change the way you do things.”

Ohio has lowered taxes and reformed tort law after businesses said those hampered them in creating jobs, Husted said. Now he says business leaders tell him they are not hiring because the workforce lacks the skills companies need or they have trouble “just finding somebody who can show up five days a week and pass a drug test.”

RELATED: DeWine, Husted each have $2.5 million on hand for 2018 run

Mike DeWine running for governor

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 6:36 AM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 3:39 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that he is running for Ohio governor, putting him in contention against two other statewide officials and a U.S. congressman seeking the Republican nomination in 2018.

“When I am governor our state will be fundamentally different,” said DeWine. “I will be ready to go on day one. I will walk through the door with a plan and I will be ready to get to work.”

He focused most of his comments on the need to help families and children succeed, waiting until the end of his speech to to throw in more traditionally conservative remarks about supporting low taxes and controlling spending.

“What we should want for all children in the state of Ohio is exactly what we all want for our kids,” DeWine said. “Too many children are growing up in troubled, stressed families” and cannot achieve their dreams because “of the walls of poverty, drugs and despair.”

RELATED: Mike DeWine confirms run for Ohio governor in 2018

RELATED: Who’s in? A look at who is running for governor

DeWine announced his bid for governor in front of about 1,000 people on the front lawn of his Cedarville home during the DeWine Family Ice Cream Social, a nearly-annual event held since 1976 when he was first elected Greene County prosecutor.

In the Republican primary he will face Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

On the Democratic side, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron are in the running.

Statewide tour starts today

On Monday DeWine launches a three-day tour of the state, visiting six cities, including Cincinnati on Tuesday, to talk with families and people at small businesses.

“Ohio is a great state,” DeWine told the crowd of supporters on Sunday, “but we have some very significant problems … The tragedy of our state today is that too many Ohioans will never realize their dreams because they simply lack the education, the skills, the training – and, in too many cases, the sobriety.”

He said at least 10 people die a day from accidental overdoses in Ohio.

“We cannot sit still while we lose a generation of children (to addiction),” DeWine said. “I will take the lead and we will get in front of the epidemic.”

During his speech, DeWine said there are too many schools failing children.

“When these kids fail, we fail,” DeWine said. “When these kids fail, Ohio fails.”

He said he will “focus like a laser … to champion schools that work and hold them up as examples that should be replicated in communities all across the state.”

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, a Beavercreek Republican, said DeWine would do an “outstanding job as governor.”

“As far as his experience, as far as being able to address the needs of Ohio, everything from our children and education, which is so important to this state, to the opiate crisis, to understanding as far as businesses, especially small businesses, being the economic engine of this state and making Ohio a great place to live,” Austria said.

DeWine’s plans to run for governor have been the worst-kept secret in Ohio, especially since he was overheard by a reporter in May 2016 telling a Dayton charter school executive of his plans.

“He’s been hinting around for nine months,” said the Rev. Thomas Wise, pastor of Valleyview Church in Englewood. “I’m glad that he finally delivered the baby.”

Wise, who attended the speech, said he admires DeWine’s honesty and said he is a man of his word.

Kelly Reynolds, 47, of New Carlisle, said she loved what DeWine said about the importance of familes and and the battle against opioid addiction.

“I think it’s amazing what heart he has for people that are addicted,” Reynolds said. “I don’t think we could have a better person run for governor.”

“He gives hope of a future for the children, for jobs and also for the heroin addicts. It’s good to see that he’s going to attack that,” said Joyce Redder, 77, of Cedarville, who taught most of DeWine’s eight children over the years in Cedarville Schools.

40 years in public service

DeWine has been an elected public official since 1977 when he became Greene County prosecutor. He served in the Ohio Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and was lieutenant governor, serving with Ohio Gov. George Voinovich. He also was a U.S. senator from 1995 until he was defeated by Democrat Sherrod Brown in the 2006 senate race. In 2010 DeWine ran for attorney general, unseating Democrat Richard Cordray.

Greene County Prosecutor Steve Haller worked for DeWine in Greene County as an assistant prosecutor and he remains a strong supporter.

“He was a high-energy guy,” Haller said. “I still see that same level of energy today and that’s some 40 years later. He’s hard to keep up with.”

“He gave you the leeway to get the job done, but he wanted results,” Haller said.

RELATED: Jon Husted announces run for governor

RELATED: Congressman Renacci gets in governor’s race

RELATED: Kasich says he backs Taylor

Haller said DeWine is less about partisanship than about getting things done, pointing to DeWine’s decision once elected attorney general to expedite testing a huge backlog of rape kits that counties had not tested. Haller said DeWine also took the lead in battling the opiate crisis.

“He’s a hard-working, honest guy,” said U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose, who was an assistant prosecutor for DeWine and is his former law partner. “He was an avid prosecutor and he has always been dedicated to public service as long as I’ve know him.”

As attorney general DeWine created a special Crimes Against Children Unit targeting sexual predators, prosecuted numerous consumer fraud cases and boosted training opportunities for law enforcement officers.

RELATED: Millions feel sting of identity theft

An abortion opponent DeWine has defended the state’s abortion restrictions and joined in the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. In May he filed a lawsuit against five manufacturers of opioiods and related companies alleging they engaged in fraudulent and deceptive marketing campaigns.

At 70, DeWine is older than the Republicans who have already announced they are running.

Age is less of an issue with voters than it once was, said Mark Caleb Smith, political director of Cedarville University’s Center for Political Studies. He said there are about six governors who are age 65 or older and President Donald Trump is 71.

“I’m not sure DeWine’s age is as much of a negative now that it might have been 20 or more years ago,” Smith said. “Besides, he seems quite energetic and engaged, so regardless of age, he appears more than capable of doing the job.”

When he was a U.S. senator DeWine was criticized by conservatives for his efforts to work with Democrats on legislation. Some dubbed him a RINO, meaning “Republican in name only.” But DeWine remains proud to this day of his across-the-aisle efforts.

“To get a bill passed in the Senate you have to have some Democrat support,” DeWine said in an exclusive interview on Friday. “In politics you have to know how to count.”

He said the conventional wisdom is that he lost to Brown because of the RINO effect, but he said it was a difficult year for Republicans in the 2006 mid-terms and his main problem was he “didn’t do well with independents that year.”

DeWine said he believes he can do well with people who supported Donald Trump for president.

“The interesting thing is Donald Trump’s appeal is to some of the same people that I’ve always been able to appeal to, blue collar Democrat workers,” he said. “I’m a conservative who likes to get things done.”

Smith said the Trump effect is one of the big unknowns about the 2018 election.

“Trump’s victory showed some Republican appetite for radical change in 2016. DeWine, for all of his strengths and experience could not be called ‘radical change.’ Of course, I am not sure it is safe to say Jon Husted would represent radical change either,” Smith said.

“It could be this race will hinge on whether or not Mike DeWine’s extensive experience and background will be a strength or weakness. In normal times, it seems obvious. These are not normal times.”

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Who is Mike DeWine?

Party: Republican

Age: 70

Hometown: Cedarville

Family: Married to Fran, eight children, 22 grandchildren

Education: bachelor’s degree, Miami University, 1969; law degree, Ohio Northern University, 1972

Political experience: Greene County prosecutor, 1977-1981; Ohio Senate, 1981-1982; U.S. House, 1983-1991; lieutenant governor, 1991-1994; U.S. Senate, 1995-2007; Ohio attorney general, 2011-current.

Fun fact: He and his family own the Asheville Tourists, a single-A minor league farm team of the Colorado Rockies

Website: www.mikedewine.com

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What people are saying about Mike DeWine’s run for governor

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:07 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 8:07 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2018. He spoke as the DeWine Family Ice Cream Social. Here’s what some of the folks there had to say:

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, a Beavercreek Republican

“As far as his experience, as far as being able to address the needs of Ohio, everything from our children and education, which is so important to this state, to the opiate crisis, to understanding as far as businesses, especially small businesses, being the economic engine of this state and making Ohio a great place to live.”

RELATED: Mike DeWine kicks off campaign for governor

Rev. Thomas Wise, pastor of Valleyview Church in Englewood

“He’s been hinting around for nine months. I’m glad that he finally delivered the baby.”

Kelly Reynolds, 47, of New Carlisle

“I think it’s amazing what heart he has for people that are addicted.”

Joyce Redder, 77, of Cedarville

“He gives hope of a future for the children, for jobs and also for the heroin addicts. It’s good to see that he’s going to attack that.”

Dave Johnson, chairman of the Columbiana County Republican Party

“It’s just great to be here. This is just a Norman Rockwell setting.”

Karen O’Leary Lapping, of Cincinnati

“I’m excited. I hope he can make changes.”

Some of the other candidates running for governor also had some things to say about DeWine

Betty Sutton, Democratic former congresswoman

“There is a clear distinction between Mike DeWine’s priorities and mine on the issue of health care. Millionaire Mike DeWine is willing to undercut the healthcare of everyday Ohioans and take away health care completely from some of the most vulnerable among us, including children, seniors, and the working poor, all the while giving a big tax cut to the top 1%. It is unconscionable. Mike DeWine won’t be affected, but millions of people’s lives will be destroyed. He’s fought the law’s implementation and wants it repealed, despite the fact that more than 800,000 Ohioans would lose their healthcare, and an essential tool to combat the opioid epidemic, provide seniors with nursing care, and help children access the care they need would be obliterated. He wants to roll back the expansion of Medicaid and stop life-time and pre-existing conditions protections.

Jim Renacci, Republican congressman

“Today’s gubernatorial campaign announcement by lifer politician Mike DeWine, whose political career literally launched before NASA’s first Space Shuttle did, marekd more than DeWine’s bid for a fifth decade on the taxpayer dime - it also officially commenced yet another tired round of political musical chairs by Columbus politicians.

Gov. John Kasich’s website hacked

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 2:43 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 2:43 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s website was hacked today by a group claiming to support the Islamic State.

The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was also hacked.

A screen appeared saying:

“Anti: Govt all word. You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people. For every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I love Islamic state.”

According to a report on CNN, a group calling itself Team System DZ, apparently hacked numerous state websites, including first lady Karen Kasich’s website.

It was not clear who the group was or whether it was genuinely affiliated with ISIS, CNN said.

Kasich’s staff said Sunday that they were aware of the hack and working to resolve the issue. They’d been working on the hack on the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections website when they were alerted to their own hack.