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Election Law Litigation

Anita Rios v. Blackwell

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(page last updated October 31, 2007 at 11:10 AM)

Case Information

All Courts: U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Case 3:04-cv-7724)
Topic(s): Recount Resources
State: Ohio
Date Filed: November 22, 2004
Date Ended: May 1, 2006

Issue: Anita Rios v. Blackwell Page last updated 5/1/06 U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio 3:04-cv-7724


In this case, Plaintiffs, including the 2004 Presidential candidates for the Green Party and the Libertarian Party, claim that the 2004 election was characterized by vote-counting anomalies and inconsistencies in voting procedures. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant, the Secretary of State of Ohio, has abused his discretionary authority regarding the recount of the ballots, violating the First Amendment right to association, and the Equal Protection and Due Process rights of voters.

Plaintiffs requested recounts from each of the county Boards of Elections and posted the required bonds, despite the fact that the county Boards of Elections had not yet completed the official ballot count. In response to this request, the Secretary of State and Boards of Election refused to conduct a manual recount before the official ballot count was finished. Plaintiffs claimed that waiting for the official count would not allow a meaningful recount, as the planned date for announcing the certified result was December 6, 2004 and Congress required all controversies to be resolved by December 7, 2004. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant purposefully left only one day to conduct a potential recount, which requires 5-10 days, in order to ensure that Ohio's electoral votes would be cast for George W. Bush.

The trial court denied a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, which sought a delay in the election certification, for two primary reasons: (1) Ohio law allows only candidates for office to request a recount of the votes cast for that office; and, (2) the Plaintiffs did not demonstrate an irreparable injury as no credible argument was presented that either of the Plaintiff candidates won or could win the right to have Ohio's presidential electors cast their Electoral College votes for him.

District Court Documents

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