Federal Court Orders to Ohio to Count Ballots Cast in Wrong Precinct
Election officials in Ohio must count ballots that in previous elections were tossed out due to poll workers’ mistakes, says a federal appeals court based in Cincinnati.
More than 80% of all ballots in Ohio are cast at polling places that handle more than one precinct. Oftentimes, poll workers will give a ballot for the wrong precinct to a voter who must cast a provisional ballot because they don’t have proper identification or other reasons. In these instances, the state threw out such ballots.
But this practice was challenged by the Service Employees International Union and homeless rights advocates who argued that it was unfair to punish voters for polling workers’ errors.
The plaintiffs won their first case before U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley in July. The state of Ohio appealed the ruling, but a three-judge panel with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Marbley, saying the ruling was correct.
Unless Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appeals the 6th Circuit’s ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision means thousands of ballots cast in next month’s presidential election that otherwise might have been tossed out will be counted.
About 40,000 of nearly 207,000 provisional votes cast in Ohio were disqualified back in 2008. Of the invalidated ballots, about 14,000 were not counted because they were cast in the wrong precinct at the right polling place.
To Learn More:
Judges: Count Ohio's Problem Ballots (by Barry Horstman, Cincinnati.com)
Appeals Court Tells Ohio to Count Ballots Tainted by Poll Worker Mistakes (by Robert Barnes, Washington Post)
Federal Courts Versus Republican Efforts to Limit Voting: Ohio (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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