Democratic chair: Is Husted electioneering with polling place poster?
Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke believes a voter information poster for polling places sent out by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is a form of electioneering.
The Republican Husted is a candidate for re-election.
The secretary of state's office sent two posters to Ohio's eighty-eight boards of elections, asking them to be placed in polling places.
One is an 11 by 17 inch poster encouraging voting that shows the work of a fifth grade student who won a statewide poster contest sponsored by Husted.
But the one Burke, who's also chairman of the county board of elections, is objecting to a two foot by three foot poster with information on using a driver's license as voter I-D. It contains Husted's name in large letters.
Burke sent Husted an e-mail early Tuesday morning asking whether or not the secretary of state was ordering the posters to be used.
“Husted’s name is bold on it,’’ Burke said. “It’s as big as an over-sized bumper sticker.
“No other candidate is entitled to engage in electioneering, no supporter is even entitled to wear a button with a candidate’s name on it into the polling place,’’ Burke said.
Husted spokesman Matthew McClellan says there's nothing out of the ordinary about the poster.
“We do place the secretary’s name on there to ensure that constituents know that this information is accurate; it is official; and there’s no fraudulent information in there anywhere,’’ McClellan said.
McClellan says Husted has issued no formal directive that would require the poster to be placed in polling places, but has asked that they be posted.
Burke says if there's no directive, he'll ask fellow board of election members for a special meeting to vote on whether or not to put up the posters. As of Tuesday afternoon, Burke had not received a reply from Husted.
Hamilton County Republican Party chairman Alex Triantafilou said he has no objection to the poster and said Burke is “just trying to score political points.”
“Both sides do that,’’ Triantafilou said. “There’s nothing unusual about it.”
If the issue does come before the board of elections for a vote, it is likely to be a two-to-two tie along party lines, which means the matter would go to Husted to cast the tie-breaking vote.