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Two Ohio election officials may be fired tomorrow over early voting rights

Two Democratic voting officials in Ohio may lose their jobs tomorrow after pushing to extend early voting hours against the wishes of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Two weeks ago, Husted standardized weekday early voting hours throughout the state, but left the ban on weekend voting intact. Montgomery county election officials Thomas Ritchie Sr. and Dennis Lieberman voted to extend voting hours to the weekend in their county, as was previously allowed since 2008, under a bill written by Husted himself. Husted will decide tomorrow whether or not to fire the two officials.

"It's as I explained to my children, I can get another job but I can't get another conscience," Lieberman said. "The right thing to do here is to have early voting, and it's been the right thing since 2008. I'm not going to change my opinion just because I was told to."

Asked if he was prepared to be fired for standing up for early voting rights, Ritchie agreed: "Doing the right thing is not easy, but in 2008 we had 28,732 people participate in early vote here in Montgomery County, and all we were attempting to do is give the voters the right to vote."

Early voting has been a hot topic in Ohio, as Republicans push to limit voting hours to weekdays. Democrats and voter's rights advocates claiming the move will disenfranchise minority voters, as many African-American churches run voting drives on weekends.

President Barack Obama won Montgomery County by 52 percent in 2008; 52 percent of the early voters Ritchie referred to were African-American and a third of them were cast on weekends.