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Ohio voter ID law temporarily suspended for absentee ballots

[JURIST] US District Judge Algenon Marbley [official profile] granted a temporary restraining order [PDF] Thursday blocking enforcement of Ohio's voter ID law [Ohio SOS backgrounder] as it applies to absentee ballots [Ohio SOS backgrounder] because Ohio's 88 counties are applying it inconsistently. The order was issued following a suit [complaint, PDF] by the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 [union website] and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless [organization website], which claimed counties have differing requirements for accepting military IDs, drivers licenses and social security cards. Under the law, absentee voters must provide a driver's license number, the last four digits of their Social Security number or a copy of a current photo ID, military identification, utility bill or bank statement.

Although absentee balloting is underway in Ohio, votes will not be counted until election day so no ballots have to be discarded. The ruling is in effect until Wednesday, when arguments will be heard on the general question of whether voter identification should be required at the polls. The Ohio Attorney General's Office [official website] has said it will appeal restraining order, but the Ohio Secretary of State [official website] has declined to join. AP has more.

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