You can read the press release from Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald after the jump but you can read an account of his press conference and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s reaction to that press conference here and here.
The best part? Husted calls Fitzgerald a “rogue actor” because Fitzgerald wants to give our voters better service than other counties and send out the absentee ballot applications. From both links:
In response [to Fitzgerald’s plan for the county to send out the vote by mail applications], Husted released a statement that said, “Mr. FitzGerald’s accusations are laughable. It is important that voters in all 88 counties be given equal access to a ballot and I will work to uphold that standard, even in the face of rogue actors like Mr. FitzGerald. Let me provide reassurance and be perfectly clear, every legal absentee ballot application received by boards of elections will be processed and a ballot will be sent.”
Yuh huh – and how exactly will Husted define a “legal” absentee ballot application? Would he really deny voters their requested absentee ballots because they used an application that they received from Cuyahoga County, and not from the BOE?
What’s very interesting about this is that many entities possess absentee ballot applications – including senior centers, libraries and, er, um, candidates for office. Since not EVERY senior center in Ohio, or EVERY library in Ohio, or EVERY candidate for office in November 2011 will be giving out vote by mail applications, will Husted police each library, senior centers and candidate for office to make SURE that they are not giving out applications for vote by mail ballots?
How unbelievably absurd is this interpretation of “equal access” and yet exactly what he’s saying as he twists that phrase to disenfranchise large counties from being able to serve Ohio’s electorate.
From Fitgerald’s office this afternoon:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts: John Kohlstrand: (216) 698-2099 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicole Dailey Jones: (216) 263-4602, (216)338-0863 or email@example.com
FITZGERALD: HUSTED “STEPPED WAY OVER THE LINE” IN THREAT TO VOTERS
CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald today expressed deep concern about Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s threat last week to prevent Cuyahoga County voters who request an absentee ballot from getting one.
Late last week, Husted told Ohio Public Radio that he is considering prohibiting the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections from processing applications from individuals who wish to vote by mail if county government goes forward with a plan to mail applications to all active registered voters in the county. The Cuyahoga County Council is scheduled to vote on that plan at 4 p.m. Monday.
“That comment stepped way over the line,” FitzGerald said today. “The fact is, Jon Husted can’t order the Board of Elections to refuse to allow citizens to vote by mail. For him to suggest that he can creates a real risk of sowing confusion among Cuyahoga County residents about this election.”
“Jon Husted may not like the fact that we are offering our constituents better service by sending everyone an application to vote by mail. But that doesn’t give him the right to threaten to disenfranchise our citizens and create confusion,” FitzGerald said.
FitzGerald said he is in the process of forwarding a transcript of the Ohio Public Radio interview to members of Cuyahoga County’s delegation to Congress. He said the comments raise questions about voters’ rights and voter suppression that merit a review by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We would all be better off if he walks that statement back,” FitzGerald said.
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