Posted: November 15, 2008
Waiting for result in federal court hearing on OH-15 provisional ballots
Steve Stivers leads by 393 votes accordig to Friday's Gongwer news (this is a subscription service). The campaign claims that he picked up 244 votes in Union County after the first unofficial county report and that these are not included in the Secretary of State's current unofficial numbers which put the difference at 149.
Judge Marbley scheduled a hearing for today at 9 a.m. on whether to consolidate the Skaggs case with NEOCH v. Blackwell, a case about the counting of provisional ballots that was consolidated before the election with Ohio Republican Party v. Brunner. Secretary Brunner alleges that all of the cases revolve around the single issue of processing and counting of provisional ballots. Secretary Brunner argues that she gave clear instruction on how to handle these ballots including the instruction that poll worker error should not invalidate a provisional ballot. Plaintiffs argue that Ohio law requires certain information on the provisional ballot envelope for the ballot to be deemed eligible for counting. The outcome of this case could have a big impact on how provisional ballots are treated in the state from now on. EL@M will post the result of the hearing as soon as it is available.
One thing that is not clear from the court filings is whether any of the provisional ballots challenged in this suit were cast by voters who were erroneously forced to vote provisionally because of a code mistakenly printed by the county in the poll books. The deputy director of the board told local TV news the day after the election that all of these ballots would be counted. See this Nov. 5 post.