A federal court judge sided Tuesday with a homeless coalition and said Ohio must count provisional ballots cast on Nov. 6 that lack or contain incomplete voter identification information. Secretary of State Jon Husted promptly said his office would appeal the ruling to the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. “Secretary Husted will appeal today’s ruling because it allows protentially fraudulent votes to be counted,” said Husted spokesman Matt McClellan. “By eliminating the ID requirment on provisional ballots, the ruling is contrary to Ohio law and undermines the integrity of the election.”
On Saturday, county boards of elections will begin to count roughly 200,000 provisional ballots, the ballots of last resort cast on Election Day by voters whose eligibility was in question for a variety of reasons. Voters are given 10 days after the election to correct, if possible, the problem with the ballot. The official count must be completed by Nov. 27.
At issue in the lawsuit was a section of the form that Mr. Husted released as part of the directive that ordered elections boards to reject provisional ballots that are incomplete, and required the voter, rather than the poll worker, to record the form of ID being used, said Subodh Chandra, one of the lawyers who filed the motion.
U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley ruled Tuesday that the last-minute voting directive issued the Friday before the election was confusing and unfair to voters and violated a previous decree that made poll workers responsible for that information, as well as Ohio and constitutional law.