BREAKING NEWS ~ Appeals court overturns ruling on Ohio provisional ballots

AP is reporting that the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Ohio voters who use provisional ballots must cast those ballots in their own precincts, overruling a contrary lower-court decision that would have counted them so long as they were cast in the correct county, and upholding a policy originally announced by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican. As reported by JURIST's Paper Chase in this morning's edition of Election watch, US Department of Justice lawyers had argued before the court yesterday in support of the state position.

UPDATE: AP now has more. Ohio Democrats, who had argued that the Ohio rule was too restrictive and an attempt to suppress the vote, are considering an appeal but have not yet decided to file. The Ohio Voter Protection Coalition offers background on their initial lawsuit against Secretary of State Blackwell. The original Directive at issue, 2004-33, provided for "the casting and counting of provisional ballots only for individuals who have moved from one Ohio precinct to another and seek to cast provisional ballots in the precinct in which they now reside…and can convince the poll worker workers that they are now eligible to vote in the new precinct". An analysis of the successful brief filed by Blackwell with the Sixth Circuit is available here from Edward Foley, Director of the Election Law @ Moritz program at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law.

UPDATE-2: The Sixth Circuit order is now online here [PDF], courtesy of Professor Rick Hasen's Election Law blog. The appeal court's opinion has not yet been released.

UPDATE-3: Professor Edward Foley, Director of the Election Law @ Moritz project at Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University, offers this analysis of the ruling.

 

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