Last week, United States District Judge Algenon Marbley of the Southern District of Ohio granted a permanent injunction that would order the Ohio Secretary of State and County Boards of Elections to count right-place/wrong-precinct ballots caused by poll worker error, marking a significant victory for voters in the state. Many polling places in Ohio have more than one precinct at the same physical location, which can result in a person voting in the wrong precinct simply by being in the wrong line at the correct location. Service Employees’ International Union, Local 1, et al. v.
It’s rare we get to write a blog headline as ridiculous as this, and we certainly wish this one was a joke, but unfortunately it’s all too true. Last month, Ohio election officials referred a group of absentee voters to the local prosecutor’s offices claiming they committed “voter fraud” by requesting an absentee ballot and then voting a provisional ballot in the same election.
The United States Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction allowing Ohio counties to set early voting dates the Saturday through Monday before Election Day. The plaintiffs in the case – Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party – sought an in-person early voting deadline for all Ohioans that matched the deadline allowed for active duty military voters.
Earlier today, a federal judge restored early voting the final three days before Election Day in Ohio in a lawsuit brought by the Obama campaign, the Ohio Democratic Party, and the Democratic National Committee for Ohio. The court found that the state could not offer a compelling reason for ending early voting the Friday before Election Day given the evidence of its popularity among voters.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive yesterday mandating uniform hours for early voting at county offices throughout the state. The directive forbids counties from offering a weekend option for early voting. Counties could previously determine their own early voting hours.
An Ohio House legislative committee sent to the House floor a bill to repeal HB 194. HB 194, which the legislature passed last year, reduced early and absentee voting periods and removed the requirement that poll workers must direct voters to the correct polling place when they show up at the wrong location.