ACLU asks federal court to block paper ballots in Ohio county

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio [advocacy website] filed a motion for a preliminary injunction [PDF text] Monday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to prevent Cuyahoga County, Ohio from conducting any election using a paper balloting system. The motion comes in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF; case materials] filed earlier this month against Secretary of State of Ohio Jennifer Brunner, the Cuyahoga Country Board of Elections, and various members of the Board of Elections and the Cuyahoga County Board of County Commissioners [official websites]. US District Judge Kathleen O'Malley will hold a hearing on February 5 to consider the motion for an injunction.

At issue is a decision by Brunner and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to use ballots that do not notify voters of any errors on the ballot at the time of voting. According to the ACLU's brief in support of the motion for preliminary injunction [PDF text]:

In the March 2008 primary election, Cuyahoga County voters - in contrast to those in other Ohio counties - will be denied the benefits of voting technology that provides notice of and the opportunity to correct errors. The predictable result of this step backward is that more Cuyahoga County residents will have their votes rejected in comparison with voters elsewhere in the state. This violates Plaintiffs' fundamental right to have their votes count on an equal basis with those cast by other citizens.
The case was filed by the ACLU on behalf of two Cuyahoga County registered voters, according to a plaintiff's affidavit [PDF text] filed with the motion for preliminary injunction. AP has more. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has local coverage.


 

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