COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose attacked the Ohio Supreme Court on Monday, tweeting that the justices “don’t understand basic concepts” of their state’s elections.
LaRose, Ohio’s top elections official, continues to be impacted by the drawn-out saga of redistricting, the state’s redrawing of legislative districts with 2020 census data.
Four sets of statehouse maps drawn by Ohio’s bipartisan but Republican-majority redistricting commission have been struck down as unconstitutional by the conservative-majority Ohio Supreme Court, and LaRose has said a map needs to be in place by April 20 or else a state legislative primary can’t be held on Aug. 2.
(Other races, like U.S. Senate, governor and local contests are still on the ballot for a separate May 3 primary.)
In its latest ruling, however, the state Supreme Court wrote last week “it is unclear” why Aug. 2 is the last available date for a primary.
LaRose’s tweet was responding to a Monday response to the court’s ruling from the Ohio Association of Election Officials, which said in a statement that the November election would be “negatively impacted” if a primary is held after Aug. 2.
OAEO, a bipartisan group of Ohio election workers, said that’s because of the time local election boards need to prepare early voting, overseas ballot mailing, and other “complex requirements for testing voting systems and proofing ballots.”
“Here’s yet more evidence — from bipartisan election experts — that these Justices don’t understand basic concepts of election law and administration,” LaRose tweeted.
In calling out the Ohio Supreme Court, LaRose also said it has a “liberal majority.” The court actually has a 4-3 conservative majority, but Republicans have criticized Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor for siding with liberals.
LaRose has not gone as far as other Republicans in calling for O’Connor to be impeached by the legislature, but he told Union County Republicans at an April breakfast he would “be fine with” it.
“And so it may feel really good, and it may be the right thing to do because she’s violated her oath of office by making up what she wants the law to say instead of interpreting what it actually says,” the Ohio Capital Journal reported LaRose saying, “but I don’t know if it would accomplish much, but I’d be fine with it if they did.”
LaRose is running against former state lawmaker John Adams of Sidney in the May 3 primary for Secretary of State. Adams, who thinks LaRose’s policies have been too lenient and that Joe Biden didn’t win the 2020 election, is the first primary challenger for an incumbent Secretary of State in 74 years.
There has been no independent polling of the race, but LaRose’s campaign has far outraised Adams’ campaign. On the Democratic side, Forest Park city councilor Chelsea Clark is running unopposed.