Ohio Secretary of State Ordered to Appear in Court Next Week

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has been ordered to appear in court next week following a directive he sent out earlier this week confirming that he does not plan to comply with an order from federal court Judge Economus requiring reinstatement of early voting in Ohio until a pending appeal of the decision reaches its conclusion.

County boards of elections have been restricted from making preparations for the additional voting days pursuant to another directive, sent out earlier in August by Husted, ordering that voting hours will be uniform throughout Ohio and that the early vote option would be eliminated state-wide. Following that directive, some election board members voted to hold the early vote days anyway and were reportedly fired as a result.

As the showdown continues, speculation about whether or not Husted can be held in contempt has been circulating social and blog spheres. A person can be held in contempt of court if they refuse to comply with a court order. On the one hand, Husted is clearly and explicitly refusing to comply with Judge Economus’ order at this time. On the other hand, Judge Economus’ order calls for voting to be available specifically on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, November 3-5, 2012, and states, “This Court anticipates that Defendant Secretary of State will direct all Ohio elections boards to maintain a specific, consistent schedule on those three days, in keeping with his earlier directive that only by doing so can he ensure that Ohio’s election process is “uniform, accessible for all, fair, and secure.” An “anticipation” is not really an order, so the question remains whether or not the judge will go so far as to find Husted in contempt next week.

Husted is to appear in court, personally, next Thursday, September 13, at 10:00 am. Stay tuned.

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