Dayton - Montgomery County Elections Board members Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. filed a federal lawsuit this morning against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for unjustly firing them after they voted to continue allowing residents to vote early on weekends in their home county.
Lieberman and Ritchie, who combined have nearly 28 years experience on the board, are also asking for a temporary restraining order that would immediately reinstate them on the Montgomery County Elections Board.
"We believe SOS Husted was wrong when he unjustly fired us. He violated our free speech and the free speech of other county elections board members," Lieberman said. "SOS Husted fired us and then dared other election board members to try and stand up for the voters in their community."
"Dennis and I followed SOS Husted's directive to establish minimum early voting hours," Ritchie said. "We were extending voting on the weekend during the same hours they were open during this year's primary and in the 2008 presidential election. To reduce voting opportunities to our residents would be a disservice to our community."
The "wrongful termination" lawsuit was filed this morning in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division in Dayton.
"There is a larger, public interest to be served by returning us immediately to the board," Lieberman said. "We are in the critical final stages in a presidential year, and Montgomery County voters deserve a smooth and well-run election with experienced hands at the helm."
"Dennis and I did nothing wrong. We knew that 11,000 Montgomery County residents voted during early weekend hours in 2008. The county has the money to pay for the extended hours. We were only trying to give people a fair chance to vote," Ritchie said.