Federal Judge Rules Against Last-Minute Ohio Ballot-Counting Change [View all]
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's last-minute order shifting the burden from the poll worker to a voter for marking what type of identification was used by a voter casting a provisional ballot violated a prior court order, Ohio law and the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge found Tuesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Algenon Marbley's opinion will not be the last word, however, as Husted, a Republican, plans to appeal the ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"Secretary Husted will appeal today’s ruling because it allows potentially fraudulent votes to be counted," Matthew McClellan, a spokesman for Husted, told BuzzFeed on Tuesday evening. "By eliminating the ID requirement on provisional ballots, the ruling is contrary to Ohio law and undermines the integrity of the election."
Marbley's ruling, if it is upheld on appeal, will lead to more provisional ballots being found to be valid and counted in the Buckeye State. The ruling is an afterthought because of President Barack Obama's wide electoral college victory — but in a close election, the fate of the presidency could easily have hinged on the federal courts' rulings in this case.