Ohio naturalized citizens voter challenge law ruled unconstitutional

[JURIST] US District Judge Christopher Boyko [official profile] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that an Ohio voting rule requiring naturalized citizens to provide proof of citizenship if challenged by poll workers was unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio [advocacy group] assisted a group of citizens in filing a lawsuit [press release] to challenge the law in August. Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell [official website] did not oppose the lawsuit during the court hearing Wednesday, saying he agreed that the rule should be struck down.

Boyko said the Ohio [JURIST news archive] voting rule encouraged racial profiling and requested his decision to be forwarded to other states. The rule was part of the controversial HB 3 election reform bill [text] passed in February, which also required voters who could not prove their identity at the time of voting to instead cast a temporary ballot that would not be counted if the voter failed to provide citizenship documentation to a county elections board within 10 days of the vote. Last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] also ruled [JURIST report] that another part of the bill made it prohibitive for minority parties to be included on ballots. AP has more.



 

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