Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ohio's Provisional Ballot Order: The Biggest Legal Story of the Weekend


“This dispute is important for many reasons. First, it's probably the most direct evidence yet that Ohio will be counting its provisional ballots for days or even weeks past Tuesday. The blossoming argument above assumes as it must that there will be a great deal of anxious vote counting after Election Day. This scenario hasn't exactly been a secret. But here's an actual live dispute for us all to watch. It's also a reminder that anyone rooting for a resolution Tuesday night (or early Wednesday) ought to hope that it doesn't all come down to Ohio. If it does, it will be weeks -- and one judicial hearing after another -- before we have an answer.

The motion also is important for what it says these days about Husted and the way he is running the state's elections. Leaving aside the provisional ballot court fight for a moment, Saturday's early voting period was hectic, largely because Husted and his fellow Republicans succeeded this cycle in reducing the number of early-voting weekends from five to one. Indeed, they tried to eliminate all such early voting, which traditionally helps wage earners who can't vote during regular business hours on weekdays, but were rejected in this effort by the federal courts.

What does it mean on the ground and to the exercise of a registered voter's right to vote? From The Washington Post late Saturday: "In Cuyahoga, 36,578 had voted as of Friday; in 2008, that number was 54,340. In 2008, there were nine additional early voting days here, and 9,933 people voted on those days." And Husted? While I was searching for the above copy I found another Associated Press story, also dated Saturday, which noted: "Husted says in a statement that voting has gone smoothly in Ohio and he expects absentee voting this year to surpass 2008."

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