One of Hamilton County's juvenile court judge benches remains unfilled at this point while a legal tug of war grinds on over a counting of provisional ballots. "The dispute has already seen the unusual step of a federal judge -- U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott -- stepping into a state-run election, and ordering the Hamilton County Board of Elections to re-examine 849 provisional ballots that were cast around the county Nov. 2 and deemed by county election officials to be invalid under Ohio election law," a Cincinnati Enquirer article yesterday morning reported.
Democratic candidate Tracie Hunter filed a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order against the Hamilton County Board of Elections asking the Court to keep the Board of Election from "certifying the election results for Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge and ordering Defendants to contact provisional voters whose ballots were rejected, ordering Defendants to investigate from Board materials whether poll worker error contributed to the rejection of these provisional ballots and ordering Defendants to count all provisional ballots where poll worker error caused the voter to vote in the wrong precinct."
At issue are some 284 voters who, on election day, went to the correct polling place but cast provisional ballots at the wrong precinct table. Hunter's lawsuit, the Enquirer article said, “asked that the board of elections determine whether or not poll workers erred in not sending those voters to the proper precinct tables, and, if they didn't, to have those votes counted.
John Williams, the Republican judicial candidate, joined the proceedings Monday. He and the Republicans on the board of elections insist that election officials have already done everything required by the law to determine if there was poll worker error, and that if Hunter wants to contest the results of the election, she should do so in state, not federal, court.
District Court Judge Susan Dlott on Monday "denied Hunter's motion insofar as it seeks an order from this Court prohibiting Defendants from certifying the election results for Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge… (but) granted Plaintiff’s motion insofar as it seeks an order commanding Defendants to investigate whether provisional ballots cast in the correct polling location but wrong precinct were improperly cast because of poll worker error." ( Order )
Williams filed an appeal with the Sixth Circuit that same day respective of the order "granting a preliminary injunction requiring that the Hamilton County Board of Elections undertake an investigation into whether 849 provisional ballots cast in the November 2, 2010 election at the correct polling place but wrong precinct were cast in the wrong precinct as a result of poll worker error."