Court Strikes Ohio’s Last-Minute Disenfranchisement Directive

The federal judge who last week warned Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that he didn’t want to see “democracy die in the dark,” thanks to Husted’s last-minute directive that threatened to disenfranchise thousands of voters, formally ruled against Husted on Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley’s order means that when provisional ballots are counted Nov. 17, the state should count those ballots on which a poll worker made an error. Husted had attempted to invalidate these ballots by shifting the burden of correctly filling out the ballot from the poll worker to the contested voters. “For an executive official of the state to flaunt state law in arbitrarily reassigning a poll worker’s statutory duty to a voter, with the result being disenfranchisement of the voter, is ‘fundamentally unfair and constitutionally impermissible’,” Marbley wrote. Husted could appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.