Just heard news on MSNBC that the U.S. Supreme Court has overruled a lower court ruling and ruled in favor of the Secretary of State, dealing a blow to the GOP. Voters will be able to vote using a regular ballot and will not be required to vote provisionally.
Update: Lower courts were wrong to get involved. Victory for state of Ohio. Ends possibility others state GOPers will try the same stunt. Great news.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is siding with Ohio’s top elections official in a dispute with the state Republican Party over voter registrations.
The justices on Friday overruled a federal appeals court that had ordered Ohio’s top elections official to do more to help counties verify voter eligibility.
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, faced a deadline of Friday to set up a system to provide local officials with names of newly registered voters whose driver’s license numbers or Social Security numbers on voter registration forms don’t match records in other government databases.
Ohio Republicans contended the information for counties would help prevent fraud. Brunner said the GOP is trying to disenfranchise voters.
Update 3: Full opinion (pdf)
Update 4: Brunner’s office issues statement below
Columbus, Ohio – The United States Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner was correct in protecting an estimated 200,000 Ohioans from being disenfranchised in this historic election.
Because of the Ohio Republican Party lawsuit, eligible Ohio voters could have been forced to use provisional ballots if a lower court’s divided decision stands. Provisional ballots are not counted until 10 days after Election Day and are subject to partisan wrangling and legal fights.
“Our nation’s highest court has protected the voting rights of all Ohioans, allowing our bipartisan elections officials to continue preparing for a successful November election. We filed this appeal to protect all Ohio voters from illegal challenges and barriers that unfairly silence the votes of some to the advantage of others,” Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said.
As Secretary Brunner noted on Thursday, she appealed a lower court ruling to the US Supreme Court because no eligible Ohio voter should be forced to use a provisional ballot, which is subject to partisan attacks and legal wrangling after Election Day. Ohioans who have followed the law and simply want to exercise their right to vote should not be penalized because of federal government red tape, database matching errors and computer glitches,” according to the Secretary.
“Now that the nation’s highest court has ruled in favor of Ohio voters, I encourage everyone to support the bipartisan system of elections administration in our state. I ask all involved to stop the legal maneuvers that unnecessarily shake public confidence. We will continue to work with our local election officials to successfully prepare for an unprecedented turnout and a fair election process,” Secretary Brunner commented.