This week, a federal district court ordered Boards of Elections to count provisional ballots that are cast in the wrong precinct due to poll worker error. Secretary Husted has announced he will appeal the decision to count votes.
“I am very disappointed that the Secretary of State wants to allow poll worker error to cause ballots to be thrown out. Punishing the voters for poll worker error is voter suppression that violates our rights to due process and equal protection of the laws. The Secretary of State is trying to paint this decision as allowing voters to vote anywhere in their county. That is not true. Only ballots cast in the wrong prescient due to poll worker error will be counted,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde.
In August, the district court shut down Secretary Husted’s effort to throw out provisional ballots that might be cast in the right polling place but wrong precinct due to poll worker error. The State appealed and the Sixth Circuit agreed that disqualifying such ballots would violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. After further lower court proceedings clarifying that ballots cast in the wrong polling place and wrong precinct must also count, Secretary Husted is appealing the order to count votes. Over 14,000 provisional ballots were rejected in 2008 because they were cast in the wrong precinct.
Rep. Clyde said, “Secretary Husted’s website does not even have a search tool for voters who have moved to find their new polling place. But he seeks to throw out their ballots if they guess wrong or rely on the mistaken advice of a poll worker. That is not fair and I’m confident the Court will protect these voters.”