Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ohio prisoners' voting rights case

A hearing in Ohio's Southern District Court this morning examined yet another voting issue -- whether county elections boards should be stopped from enforcing a Nov. 3 absentee-ballot request deadline for people who are jailed.

Cincinnati.com this morning related that a group called Fair Elections Ohio along with several prisoner advocacy groups, filed a class-action lawsuit last week against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and each of the heads of county elections boards, alleging "the provision of the Ohio Revised Code Sec. 3509.08 that sets a deadline of Saturday at noon for jailed electors to request an absentee ballot violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses  of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, Article I, Section 2, and the Seventeenth Amendment of the United States Constitution."

The groups, first of all, ask the District Court to "prohibit the implementing or enforcing a Saturday at noon deadline for detainees to request an absentee ballot, and require provision of a practicable means of voting for all confined voters at least equivalent to that provided for hospitalized persons pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code § 3509.08(B)."

Secondly, they’re asking Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted "notify the state's eighty-eight county boards of elections and the sheriff of each county of the state that all jailed electors and those placed in custody on misdemeanor charges or convictions and/or upon felony charges between Friday, November 2, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday, November 6, 2012, have the right to vote, prescribing how he shall notify said boards and county sheriffs and further direct said boards regarding the means by which such rights are to be effected and enforced."

A restraining order in those respects was also requested.

Amended Complaint

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