OH Secretary of State blasts Lucas Co. BOE - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

OH Secretary of State blasts Lucas Co. BOE

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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted was at Bowling Green State University on Thursday blasting the Lucas County Board of Elections and facing questions about when he plans to fill the vacancies on the board.

Husted says Lucas County will be ready for the special election in August even if it means taking more aggressive measures.

"If I lived in Lucas County right now and I looked at the mess that they made out of the Board of Elections, I'd be pretty darn mad about it myself,” says Husted as he spoke in front of hundreds of elections officials from across the region.

"It's ridiculous what has gone on there and there is no defense for it,” says Husted.

Lucas County BOE Interim Director Gina Kaczala, the lone survivor of Husted’s recent house cleaning, sat in the second row.  She tells 13abc she was not embarrassed and kept her head held high.

Husted was in Wood County for his final summer election preparation conference titled “Easy to Vote, Hard to Cheat.”

"In the 87 other counties, things are working pretty well,” says Husted.

Three weeks ago Husted fired three of the four Board of Elections members: Ron Rothenbuhler, Jon Stainbrook, and Tony DeGidio.

Husted suspended John Irish until new board members are sworn in.

However, Husted has yet to approve any nominees. He says Democrat Brenda Hill remains under review.    

This week Husted rejected the two Republican nominees: Ben Roberts and Kelly Bensman.

Husted says he wants people without ties to the problems of the past.

"We didn't get rid of everybody at the board with the idea of just putting in puppets or cronies,” says Husted.

Stainbrook, the Lucas County Republican Party Chairman, insists the two are qualified and he may sue Husted to make his picks stick.

On Wednesday, the attorney for the party told 13abc that Stainbrook will likely ask the Ohio Supreme Court next week to overturn Husted’s decision.

 "If that happens, then we'll see what the court says,” says Husted.

Meanwhile, Husted says his office is working with Lucas County BOE staff on a daily basis to get voting machines and workers ready for the next election.

"Life goes on, despite the lack of leadership at the top,” says Husted. "They'll be ready for the August special election."

Kaczala wouldn’t talk on camera after Husted’s speech, but off camera she says it’s possible Husted could fill the void on the board with his own people temporarily to get the August 5th election certified.

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