Osborne resigns from the state board of elections

David "Oz" Osborne

Former Daviess County Clerk David "Oz" Osborne was appointed to the state board of elections in March by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Osborne attended his first board of elections meeting on April 16. That meeting turned out to be Osborne's first and his last.

After that meeting, Osborne decided to resign from the board. According to media accounts, there have been public disputes between board members and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes after a law passed by lawmakers attempted to reduce Grimes' power over the elections board.

Although Osborne never went back to Frankfort after April 16, he was named in a lawsuit Grimes filed against the elections board.

"They haven't notified me yet that I'm off" the lawsuit, Osborne said Tuesday. "But I do know the executive director did notify me that he accepted my resignation."

Osborne and former Meade County Clerk Katrina Fitzgerald were appointed to the board under House Bill 114. The bill expanded the board of elections to include two former clerks and made Grimes a non-voting member on the board. The bill came after an investigation by the Lexington Herald-Leader and ProPublica about Grimes' influence on the board and allegations she and staff members had accessed voter data information for political reasons.

Grimes sued and sought a temporary injunction against House Bill 114 taking effect. The Associated Press reported a judge denied Grimes' request to block the law's implementation but allowed Grimes' lawsuit would go forward in court.

Osborne said previously he believed he would be removed from the lawsuit once he resigned from the board. He said the judge hearing the case ruled recently the retired clerks were non-voting members of the board.

"We voted on a few things" at the April meeting, Osborne said. "We didn't know we couldn't vote."

When asked about his decision to resign, Osborne said, "I just found, after the first meeting and shortly after the lawsuit that Secretary Grimes filed, (being a board member) was more than I wanted to take on. I learned pretty quickly."

Osborne said he talked with family members and friends about being on the board and "decided I didn't want to fool with it."

"There was turmoil with the board," Osborne said. "I had other fish to fry that tasted better than that.

"It was a brief career in state politics," Osborne said. "I'm just out as a regular Joe cutting my grass, and that's all right."

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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