Voting is no easy task for Roland Gilbert. The retired Ohio lawyer, 86, who is legally blind, completes his absentee ballot with help from a machine that magnifies the print. So the registered Democrat was not completely surprised to learn he had made an error in filling out his 2014 ballot, entering that day’s date in the birthdate field. What surprised him was that it cost him his vote. Local election officials rejected it because it did not perfectly match his registration information on file. “It didn’t seem right,” Gilbert said. “I felt foolish for making a silly mistake.” Laws passed by the Republican-led Ohio state legislature in 2014 require voters to accurately fill out their personal information on absentee or provisional ballots or they will be rejected — even if the votes are otherwise valid. The laws are being applied in a presidential election for the first time this year.
A Reuters analysis found that where voters live can determine whether their provisional or absentee ballots count in Ohio. The law requiring a perfect match on information such as name, address, birthdate, signature and ID number has been enforced unequally county to county, federal data and court documents show, with local officials sometimes using wide latitude in applying the standards.
The disparity could hurt Democrats in Ohio, a vital battleground in the November 8 election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. The 14 Ohio counties with the most restrictive enforcement accounted for 53 percent of Ohio’s total vote in 2012 and gave Democratic President Barack Obama 60 percent of the votes he won in Ohio.
Full Article: Spelling Error Could Nullify Your Vote in Ohio.