Skeptics are calling Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s June 2 primary election date theoretical, saying the Legislature, not he, has the power to move the date.
Adjectives that are being thrown around include “anarchy” and “executive fiat.”
LaRose is already dictating the rules 88 county boards of elections should follow, the Ohio Capital Journal said. These LaRose rules include the dictate that county boards of election should not accept any new voter registrations ahead of the not-yet-official June 2 election.
LaRose’s dictates are available here. They include boards to process absentee ballot applications received at the board of elections postmarked by Tuesday, May 26. LaRose also set the hours for the June 2 theoretical elections: 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
In his dictates, LaRose said the primary was “suspended” until June 2.
LaRose’s administration defended its action to the Capital Journal:
“The Governor and Secretary took the necessary actions (on March 16) to keep Ohioans safe and protect the integrity of our democracy by extending the March 17th election so voters can safely have their voices heard,” spokesperson Maggie Sheehan told the Capital Journal. “Despite any inference to the contrary, the election has not been rescheduled, it has been extended.”
LaRose’s power grab has drawn intense heat, as The Ohio Star reported.
The Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose over the state’s chaotic postponement of the presidential primary.
The complaint was filed Tuesday in the Ohio Supreme Court and asks the court to prohibit LaRose from setting Ohio’s new primary date.
The lawsuit asks the state’s high court to order LaRose to rescind his directive rescheduling the election to June 2.
The ACLU also took issue.
“But neither the global pandemic, nor the fact that the election date is changed, means that we need to devolve into anarchy,” Freda Levenson, Legal Director for the ACLU of Ohio, said.
Good luck getting the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn a decision that involved Gov. Mike DeWine, unless his son, Pat, recuses himself. As The Star reported recently, the governor’s son is a court justice.
Maybe the Legislature will do something.
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder said, according to The Plain Dealer the House is looking to act to “legally” adopt, change or extend the election date.
“Over the last 18 hours, unprecedented chaos and confusion have reigned over Ohio’s election system,” the Perry County Republican stated. “The legal authority to change the date rests with the Ohio General Assembly – not the courts and not via executive fiat.”
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