County Exec. Ed Fitzgerald says Ohio Sec. of State "stepped way over the line"
August 28, 2011 at 8:56 PM EST - Updated June 25 at 7:08 AM
DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO)
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald Sunday 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.
Secretary of State Husted released this statement in response to Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald's statements.
"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."