Federal Judge Rules Against Ohio Secretary Of State’s Voter Suppression Rule

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R)

A federal judge made an earlier ruling permanent last week, ensuring that valid voters who cast their vote at the correct polling place shall have their votes counted, even if they are directed to the wrong precinct location due to poll-worker error.

Last year, two organizations filed suit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) after he attempted to block the counting of provision ballots cast voters who vote in the wrong place within a polling place (often “right church,” but “wrong pew” voters) — even though they were incorrectly sent there by poll workers. A federal appeals court ruled against Husted in October, holding that such a practice violated the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley issued an injunction preventing Ohio from discarding those votes in November’s election.

Now, Marbley has made his 2012 injunction permanent. While this ruling is only a small victory for the right to vote, 1,800 people fell into this category in the mid-cycle 2011 election alone. Thanks to this ruling, Husted will not be able to throw out their ballots.