Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern insinuated Secretary of State Jon Husted is a racist because Husted has refused to extend early voting hours to non-military voters the weekend before the November 6 election. During a conference call discussing the lawsuit filed July 17 against Ohio officials by Obama for America, the Ohio Democratic Party, and the Democratic National Committee, Redfern claimed Husted and other Republicans are “threatening to take us back to the relics of a different era,” echoing a Jim Crow meme launched by union front group We Are Ohio last September.
On July 13, Husted provided a tie-breaking vote in the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, whose Democrat members voted to allow early in-person voting the weekend before the upcoming general election. Husted had previously announced he would oppose counties’ attempts to extend weekend voting, in the interest of creating more uniform election procedures statewide.
Although in-person absentee voting begins on October 2 in Ohio this year, Obama for America has filed suit against Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine demanding extension of absentee voting the weekend before the election. Looser voting rules tend to favor Democrat candidates, so the absentee ballot applications that will be sent to all registered voters and the early voting hours starting 35 days before election day have not deterred a Democrat lawsuit or Redfern’s trademark vitriol.
“It’s a chilling notion that someone would be opposed to allowing early voting because of how a person may or may not vote,” Redfern said. Redfern, an Obama spokesman in Ohio, referred to opponents of Obama’s health care law as “f***ers” at a union event days before the November 2010 election, later using the outburst as a fundraising opportunity and blaming the Tea Party for “campaigns of lies and fear against our president.”
While Redfern insists Husted’s motivations are partisan and insinuates Husted is a racist, Obama for America attorney Bob Bauer claims the laws Husted is enforcing are unconstitutional because they treat military and non-military voters differently.
Under current Ohio law, military voters can cast early ballots through the day before the election. Other Ohio voters may cast early ballots until 6:00 PM on Friday, November 2.
Donald McTigue, an attorney advising Obama’s campaign in Ohio, claims military voters were “arbitrarily” exempted. “What we believe is the deadline should be the same for everybody, and that would be the Monday before the election,” he added.
Husted countered that Ohio officials “don’t have any ability to change” the military deadline, which is required by federal law.
In an interview with CNN, Husted argued that county election officials “need those last three days” before election day “to get their records straight.” According to Husted, Obama for America is opposed to an electoral system which “requires some level of personal responsibility” to visit a polling place or request an absentee ballot.
The case, Obama for America v. Husted, is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus, a Clinton appointee.