State elections chief defends voter roll process

Associated Press

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s elections chief is predicting the U.S. Supreme Court will side with the state in a dispute over the pruning of voter rolls.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said Wednesday he was surprised the voter roll case ended up with the nation’s high court.

Husted blamed outside groups trying to shape Ohio elections law in the federal courts. He said the issue hasn’t been controversial within the state.

Ohio is among a handful of states that use voters’ inactivity to trigger a process that could lead to their removal from voter rolls. The high court heard a challenge of the system earlier this month.

Husted is a candidate for lieutenant governor in the May primary. He spoke to editors and reporters at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

Opioids in rural areas

Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to provide state money for community centers in rural areas to help fight the state’s opioid crisis.

The Republican governor says he’ll ask for the money in his upcoming capital budget. He wants to aim it at places like Boys and Girls clubs that serve children who sometimes have no place else to go.

Kasich says he was moved by a recent visit to rural Pike County and the stories of struggling teens he heard there.

The governor spoke to editors and reporters Wednesday at the legislative preview sponsored by The Associated Press.

He answered a question about another presidential run by saying he doesn’t know what he’ll do at the end of his term.

Kasich called the press an essential American institution.

Rosenberger speaks

The Republican speaker of the Ohio House says he was uncomfortable with offensive remarks made by fellow GOP lawmakers during a top House staffer’s going-away party that made light of recent sexual misconduct scandals and disparaged female lawmakers.

Rep. Clifford Rosenberger said at the AP forum that he’s taking responsibility for what happened last week and has apologized on behalf of House Republicans. Rosenberger says he isn’t looking at further discipline against Rep. Bill Seitz, who has apologized for his remarks.

Rosenberger says he’s putting together a bipartisan committee to address concerns about such behavior.

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said there might be more consequences for Sen. Matt Huffman, who also made crude remarks involving women at that event. Huffman has also apologized.


The Republican president of the Ohio Senate said at the AP forum that he’s cautiously optimistic lawmakers can work out a redistricting plan soon.

Sen. Larry Obhof says that while there are disagreements to how to reach a resolution, everyone is looking at the same goals over all.

Obhof criticized a proposed ballot initiative creating a redistricting plan, saying it would institutionalize gerrymandering derived from preconceived notions based on voting patterns.

Rep. Fred Strahorn, Democratic leader in the House, said fair redistricting would involve districts of linked communities of interest anchored by the district’s most populous county.

A pending legislative proposal would create a 10-year map that requires a three-fifth vote in each chamber and a one-third minority vote to be enacted.

Associated Press