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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz


Ohio: Wednesday Morning, 3:00am

A recount in an Ohio congressional or statewide race remains conceivable but perhaps less likely than it appeared heading into Election Day. Based on unofficial returns posted on the websites for the Secretary of State and the Franklin County Board of Elections, it appears that in the election for Ohio’s 15th congressional district the incumbent Republican Deborah Pryce has a lead of 11,261 votes over challenger Mary Jo Kilroy, with 100% of precincts having reported. But, according to the Columbus Dispatch, there still remain approximately 20,000 absentee ballots to be counted, as well as an “unknown” number of provisional ballots. Although these numbers make an automatic recount unlikely (which requires that the margin of victory in a district race to be within one-half of one percent), a losing candidate is entitled to pursue an optional recount at the candidate's expense. Likewise, in the statewide race for Auditor, unofficial returns at the Secretary of State’s website show the Republican candidate leading by 78,131, or 2.24%, with 96.44% of precincts reporting. The Secretary of State also reports a statewide total of 86,330 absentee or provisional ballots that remained to be counted, but significantly those totals do not yet include figures from several of the state’s most populous counties, including Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton. The margin of victory necessary to trigger an automatic recount in a statewide race is even narrower than in a district race (one-fourth of one percent, rather than one-half of one percent), but again a requested recount remains an option for a candidate willing to pay for one. Moreover, in Ohio a losing candidate for a state office, but not a federal office, may pursue a judicial contest of the election.

Edward B. Foley is Director of the Election Law @ Moritz program. His primary area of current research concerns the resolution of disputed elections. Having published several law journal articles on this topic, he is currently writing a book on the history of disputed elections in the United States. He is also serving as Reporter for the American Law Institute's new Election Law project. Professor Foley's "Free & Fair" is a collection of his writings that he has penned for Election Law @ Moritz. View Complete Profile


Daniel P. Tokaji

What's the Matter with Kobach?

Daniel P. Tokaji

By "Kobach," I mean the Kobach v. EAC case in which the Tenth Circuit heard oral argument Monday – rather than its lead plaintiff, Kansas’ controversial Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who argued the position of his state and the State of Arizona. This post discusses what’s at issue in the case, where the district court went wrong, and what the Tenth Circuit should do.

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

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Info & Analysis

Judge Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction in NC Case

U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder denied the motion for a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs in a case challenging a new North Carolina voting law as violating the Voting Rights Act and the federal Constitution. Judge Schroeder also denied the defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. The case is North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory.

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