Posted: November 17, 2008
Federal judge keeps Ohio provisional ballot case
Federal judge Algenon Marbley decided today to keep State of Ohio ex rel. Skaggs v. Brunner in federal court, apparently agreeing with Secretary Brunner that the issues presented in the case are intertwined with the issues ruled on by the court just before the election in NEOCH v. Blackwell. In NEOCH, the court adopted Secretary Brunner's directive 2008-101 on the processing of provisional ballots as an order of the court. A subsequent directive issued Oct. 28, 2008-103, reiterated the court's order that poll worker error may not invalidate a provisional ballot. Specifically the court said that poll worker error including "failure of a poll worker to sign a provisional ballot" and "failure to comply with duties mandated by R.C. 3505.181, which governs the procedure for casting a provisional ballot" should not cause an eligible elector's ballot to be rejected. At issue in Skaggs is whether the lack of a voter's name and signature on the ballot envelope should be cause for rejecting a provisional ballot. The ballots under consideration could determine the outcome of the OH-15 House race. Judge Marbley is holding a hearing today on whether to issue a temporary order delaying the counting of provisional ballots in Franklin County.