Sec. of State Jon Husted demands BOE send records of backdoor deal

Sec. of State Jon Husted demands BOE send records of backdoor deal

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - More trouble at the Lucas County Board of Elections with Ohio's Secretary of State saying they're acting like infants.

Secretary of State Jon Husted is demanding board members turn over text messages and he won't take no for an answer.

The new controversy centers around a board of elections reorganizing meeting on March 3.

The two Republican and two Democrat board kept getting tie votes, when trying to choose a director and deputy director.

Board chairman Brenda Hill said the Republican members were on their phones during the meeting, texting.

"It's kind of insulting to the public that you feel that what you're doing on your phone is more important than the meeting and it's just not good manners."

Democrat board member Joshua Hughes says they were exchanging texts with former Republican board member Jon Stainbrook, who was removed by the secretary of state in 2014.

"And gives the appearance of impropriety when the board members look to a removed board member in the back of the room in order to determine how they're going to vote on a certain issue," Hughes said.

Secretary of State Husted found out and wrote a letter to the board members, calling their behavior "infantile."

Jon Stainbrook said none of the texts were related to election matters and it's ridiculous for anyone to suggest he was influencing the GOP members. Stainbrook also said Secretary of State Husted should stop running for Governor all the time and fix the problems in the board of elections.

Brenda Hill hopes the investigation leads to changes, saying, "It's not a good meeting and we should be able to do better."

Husted also is investigating if a private meeting was held about a new director. Hughes said he did meet a GOP member but denies there were any discussions of choosing a director.

We reached out to the Republican board members but haven't heard back.

Husted's letter reads as follows:

Dear Chairwoman Hill and Board Members Hartley, Hughes, and Saferin:

Husted demanded all four board member submit any texts that they sent or received during that meeting by 5 p.m. Friday.

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