Posted: December 29, 2010
Ohio Cases on Counting Provisional Ballots Cast in Wrong Precincts
ElectionLaw@Moritz is following two Ohio cases that raise questions regarding whether to count provisional ballots cast in incorrect precincts due to poll worker error. Hunter v. Hamilton County Board of Elections challenges whether poll worker error may be considered when deciding whether to count provisional ballots, and the process for determining whether such error occurred. The case originated in federal court, and the federal District Court required the Board of Elections to investigate whether some provisional ballots were wrongly cast due to poll worker error. The case focuses on the correct application of state election law. Sarantou v. Lucas County Board of Elections also examines whether to count provisional ballots cast in incorrect precincts because of incorrect instructions from poll workers. Plaintiffs argue that state law, using a combination of statutes and directives from the Secretary of State, provides only very limited circumstances under which provisional ballots cast in incorrect precincts may be counted, and requires clear and convincing evidence of poll worker error.