By Maggie Thurber | Special to Ohio Watchdog
COLUMBUS — Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Tuesday fired the two Democratic members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections for failing to follow his directive on early voting hours.
A hearing officer Monday recommended Dennis Lieberman and Thomas Ritchie Sr. be dismissed for voting Aug. 17 against instituting the voting hours in the directive.
Lieberman and Ritchie maintained the directive from Husted was ambiguous and did not prevent them from adding more voting hours on weekends. The hearing officer disagreed, saying it was plain, in both the background section of the directive and the follow-up letter sent to the board, that the purpose was to have the same hours of voting in every county in the state.
“You knowingly and willfully violated Ohio election law by not following Directive 2012-35, which Ohio law (R.C. 3501.11) requires you to follow. Thus, you are immediately dismissed from the Montgomery County Board of Elections,” Husted wrote in his dismissal letter to them.
“Board members are free to express their discontent with any Directive or Advisory issued, but they cannot disobey them. Your dismissal is not about differing views; it is about you violating the law. You were given subsequent chances to comply and refused to take corrective action.
“I find no pleasure in taking this action and thank you for your service,” Husted concluded.