The Sixth Circuit U.S Court of Appeals today upheld a decision in the consolidated cases NEOCH v. Husted and SEIU v. Husted requiring the counting of provisional ballots cast in the right polling place but the wrong precinct due to poll worker error.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde released the following statement about the decision:
“Today is yet another victory for voting rights. In August, the district court shut down Secretary Husted’s effort to throw out provisional ballots that might be cast due to poll worker error. Today, the Sixth Circuit agreed that disqualifying such ballots would be unreasonable and fundamentally unfair and would violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws. I strongly urge Attorney General DeWine not to waste taxpayer dollars by appealing this common sense decision.”
The matter was remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. The Sixth Circuit left open the possibility that all wrong precinct ballots cast due to poll worker error could ultimately counted, and not just those cast in the right polling location. Over 14,000 provisional ballots were rejected in 2008 because they were cast in the wrong precinct. That year, 34% of Cuyahoga County’s wrong precinct ballots were cast in the right polling place while 32% were cast in the right polling place in Hamilton County. Source: Final Report 2008 – 2009 Ohio Election Summit and Conference, Brennan Center.