“Each of Ohio’s 722 judges, 800 judges and numerous retired judges should be deeply concerned and dismayed at the Republican Party’s irresponsible claims that politics control the judge’s decision,” she said in a statement on Wednesday. “This is an obvious and unfounded attack on the independence of the Ohio judiciary.”
According to the Statehouse News Bureau, she added, “Regardless of how the judge ruled, accused of partiality is only at the heart of my efforts to weaken the judiciary.”
The criticism from O’Connor, a Conservative employee who was previously Lieutenant Governor, comes from the fact that access to Dropboxes has become a political focal point. Last month, Ohio State Secretary Frank LaRose (R) ordered that only one such box be made available per county. This disgruntled lawmakers and critics concerned about the repression of voters in larger metropolitan areas who would require more than a single box for all of its postal voting rights.
A lawsuit filed by the Ohio Democratic Party alleged that the state was silent about the location and number of the Dropboxes. In a ruling on Tuesday, Frye busted LaRose’s August 12 policy. The judge said the Republican secretary of state was far from equal and derided this as “tantamount to arguing that any county, regardless of population, only needs 100 (or some other arbitrary number) voting machines”.
“That view of ‘equal treatment’ is nonsense,” Frye said in his decision, according to Bloomberg News.
Frye’s opinion angered the Ohio Republicans, who questioned the judge’s impartiality, a Democrat, and accused him of mimicking his party’s talking points as part of his decision.
“After the corruption and deception we’ve seen from the Ohio Democrats, it’s no surprise they worked with a Democratic Common Pleas Court judge on a decision on ballot boxes,” the Ohio GOP said in its statement . The party added, “The judge’s interpretation of this law by virtue of his partisan membership is an obvious obstruction to his judicial responsibility.”
O’Connor, who in her statement refused to look into Frye’s decision if at one point had to decide, accused Republicans of undermining confidence in the judges by questioning their integrity.
“The Republican Party’s declaration should be seen for what it is: part of an ongoing series of attacks on any decision that does not favor a political end, regardless of the party, even if that decision is legally correct and indeed required by law.” She said.
LaRose is expected to file an appeal. A lawyer representing LaRose told the local media that the Secretary of State would support more than one Dropbox per county if legalized. (He lacks the legal authority to increase the number beyond the number established by state law.)
A separate federal lawsuit also questions the rule. Jon Greenbaum, an attorney representing the electoral groups who filed the lawsuit, argued to Cleveland.com that LaRose’s move was “an attempt to stifle turnout”.
“It’s an obvious point: when you have more Dropboxes, you have a higher turnout,” he said.
This federal lawsuit is rejected by President Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, and the Ohio GOP.