Judge Reversed: Ohio Challenges Restored
Fraud File: Ohio Challenges Continue (Fox News)
The Ohio Supreme Court issued a 4-3 ruling late Monday that gives a partial victory to Republican poll watchers who earlier had been denied by two federal judges. The court ruled that state law allows one challenger per political party at each precinct. Republicans had registered its challengers at the polls by precinct, but Democrats had registered one challenger at each polling place. In Ohio’s most crowded areas, like Cleveland, more than one precinct can be found in each polling place, meaning Republicans could have a numerical advantage in the number of challengers present. On top of that, the 6th District Court of Appeals reversed two rulings by federal judges that would have prevented the parties from posting challengers at polling places. Earlier in the day, the judges ruled that poll workers, not outsiders, should determine voter eligibility.
An order by U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott (search) of Cincinnati found that the application of Ohio’s statute allowing challengers at polling places was unconstitutional. In a similar case, U.S. District Judge John Adams (search) of Akron said poll workers are the ones to determine if voters are eligible.
Excellent news, although I’m unclear as to how the Ohio Supreme Court could overturn the ruling of a federal judge. Stay tuned.
In a day of see-sawing court rulings, a Federal appeals court ruled early Tuesday morning that the Republican Party could place thousands of people inside polling places to challenge the eligibility of voters, a blow to Democrats who argued those challengers will intimidate minority voters. The ruling, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, reversed two lower courts that had blocked the challenges just a day before. It also came as squadrons of lawyers from both parties in Ohio and other swing states from Pennsylvania to Florida to New Mexico were preparing for Election Day skirmishes that will include using arcane laws that allow challenges at the polls.
I heard on NPR that the U.S. Supreme Court, via Justice Stevens, has denied cert–meaning this will be the final ruling before the election.
Update – Confirmation: Justice Ends Effort to Stop G.O.P. Challenges in Ohio
Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court refused today to set aside an early-morning Ohio appeals court ruling that allowed Republicans to send challengers to polling places, effectively ending Democrats’ efforts to block what they had cast as an effort to intimidate minority voters in this key battleground state. Justice Stevens acted on an emergency request shortly before polls opened in Ohio and elsewhere across the nation. He said practical considerations, like the difficulty of reviewing all the relevant filings in two lower federal courts that had blocked Republicans from placing thousands of people inside polling places, and the limited amount of time available, weighed against granting the requested relief and reinstating the two orders. “The hour is late and time is short,” Justice Stevens said in declining to refer the matter to the full Supreme Court.
While Stevens was a Republican (by President Ford) appointee, he is one of the most liberal justices on the Court and hardly a GOP shill.