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Federal judge blocks Ohio law discarding provisional ballots cast in wrong precinct

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] on Monday blocked a state election law adopted in 2006 that discards provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. Pursuant to the law, the provisional ballots were rejected even if the error was caused by a poll worker. Approximately 14,000 provisional ballots were discarded [LAT report] in Ohio in the 2008 elections as a result of this law. The legal battle will likely continue despite Judge Algenon Marbley's ruling, as Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted [official profile] expressed through his spokesman that he plans to appeal [WP report] the court's decision. A lawsuit regarding Husted's decision to eliminate three days from the early voting period [LAT report], except for members of the Armed Forces and Ohio residents living overseas, is still pending.

In 2008 Ohio was among six states where thousands of eligible voters were removed from voter rolls [JURIST report] against federal voting law in contravention of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) [text], according to a New York Times report [text]. In 2006 a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled that an Ohio voting law requiring naturalized citizens to provide proof of citizenship if challenged by poll workers was unconstitutional [JURIST report]. US District Judge Christopher Boyko said the Ohio voting rule encouraged racial profiling and requested his decision to be forwarded to other states.

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