Supremes asked to step into Ohio voter dispute

The U.S. Supreme Court may play a role in the outcome of the presidential election, or at least in determining the final voter tally in one state.

Officials in the key battle state of Ohio filed an emergency petition with the high court last night seeking to block a 6th Circuit order that would give local election officials access to computerized lists of newly registered voters whose information doesn’t match driver license or Social Security data. The application for stay can be found here on the Moritz College of Law website. [HT for link: Election Law Blog]

The state GOP sought to get access to the records when it was discovered that some new voter registration cards submitted by advocacy group ACORN contained incorrect and duplicate information. Republicans pressed Democratic Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, saying the statewide voter data system made it too difficult for local officials to determine newly registered voters’ eligibility. More than 600,000 new voter registration forms have been filed in the state this year, and most are Democratic. About 200,000 of those records do not match motor vehicle or Social Security records – with discrepancies ranging from misspellings to more significant differences.

Voters whose records do not match the other data will be given a provisional ballots on Election Day. Those ballots will be counted only after election officials can verify the voters’ eligibility. 

After the 6th Circuit, in a 10-6 decision bitterly divided along partisan lines, ordered Brunner to provide the computerized records Tuesday, she appealed to the Supreme Court last night – a move that angered state GOP officials. State party deputy chairman Kevin DeWine told The Washington Post that Brunner’s appeal was “stunning in its attempt to defy the law.”

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