Democrats are up in arms over signage the secretary of state’s office is requiring polling places to post bearing the prominent name and signature of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Husted says recent voter information signs prominently featuring his name are standard issue for secretary of state. But Democrats say he’s taking unfair advantage of his position. Husted is on the ballot this year, running for reelection against Democrat Nina Turner and Libertarian Kevin Knedler.
There are laws against campaigning in polling places, where bumper stickers, buttons and other campaign material is prohibited. But the secretary of state is required by law to draw up informational posters with instructions for voters. These posters can be posted at voting locations.
Husted has placed his name and signature on 2-foot-by-3-foot posters that his office is now requiring all polling places to post. Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke emailed media outlets last week decrying the size of Husted’s name, describing it as “the size of an oversized bumper sticker.”
Burke is also chair of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, and he fired off an email earlier this week to Husted’s office demanding clarification about the requirement polling places post the posters.
“I am struggling to understand how it is legitimate or fair to create a situation where you will be the only candidate on the ballot in next month’s election to have your name prominently displayed along with the office to which you seek reelection in each polling place,” Burke wrote in the message dated Oct. 7.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Damschroder replied later that evening, saying the posters are a routine task for the secretary of state’s office and that Husted’s name and signature are present to assure voters that the poster is official.