Serv. Emps. Int'l Union Local 1 v. Husted, No. 12-4264 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
The Sixth Circuit granted Ohio a stay of the district court’s October 26 order granting a preliminary injunction that requires the state to count provisional ballots cast in the wrong polling place due to poll-worker error (wrong-place/wrong-precinct ballots) in the November election. The court previously affirmed an order that Ohio count right-place/wrong-precinct provisional ballots caused by poll-worker error. Plaintiffs failed to show strong likelihood of success on the merits of constitutional claims concerning wrong-place/wrong-precinct ballots. The salient feature of the right-place/ wrong-precinct problem was disenfranchisement, by worker error, of voters who arrive at the correct place, a situation caused by Ohio’s system of multi-precinct polling places. Though voters rely on workers to direct them to the proper precinct in the polling place, they are not as dependent in identifying their correct polling place. Ohio law requires officials to provide notice of where they are eligible to vote; information is easily accessible. There is sparse evidence of workers sending voters to the wrong polling location. The state has a legitimate interest in maintaining its precinct-based voting system; there is a strong public interest that militates against changing the rules during early voting. The injunction would interfere with orderly election administration and cause confusion among poll workers and voters.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on September 27, 2013.