Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) recently issued a directive that could nullify legal provisional ballots. Ohio is well known as the most discerning state for both of the presidential campaigns since many polls are showing that the race is extremely close, this could definitely effect the results of the entire presidential election.
Husted’s directive was just issued on Friday, and it states the mandatory requirements in order to file a provisional ballot. One mandatory requirement is the completion of a special form with specific identification instructions that needs to be filled out correctly by the voter in order for their ballot to count. A lawsuit that was filed by advocates for voter’s rights states that this directive is a direct contradiction to a court’s decision on provisional voting ballots, and that it contradicts various statements made by Mr. Husted’s attorney at a court hearing that took place on October 24th.
Based on an excerpt from the lawsuit, the directive also contradicts Ohio’s laws:
Ohio Rev. Code § 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a provisional ballot proffers identification, “the appropriate local election official shall record the type of identification provided, the social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the ballot…”
The law states that any issues with a voter’s identification will be dealt with immediately on site, in order to ensure that the voter’s ballot is validated and counted in the election. The directive shifts the responsibility of providing accurate and proper identification to the voter, which in turn increases the possibility that their ballots will not be considered. This shift in responsibility can greatly affect the outcome of this year’s election, and with the two candidates running such a close race, every valid ballot should be accounted for.
Mr. Husted has until Monday to file a response to the lawsuit, and the dispute is expected to be resolved before November 17, the date when the provisional ballots are counted. Additionally, Mr. Husted has recently reduced early voting hours, limiting the voting options for Ohio residents.