Judge Rules Ballots Should Count, But Issues Injunction

A federal judge in Columbus has ruled that about 1,000 disputed provisional ballots cast in Franklin County must be counted. Those ballots could determine the outcome of the 15th congressional district race between Republican Steve Stivers and Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy.

The thousand disputed ballots were flawed, said the Franklin County Board of Elections, because of defects such as voters failing to both print and sign their names on the ballot envelopes. But Judge Algenon Marbley said such errors were the fault of poll workers not voters. And he said all qualified voters should have their votes counted.

That’s been the position of Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the chief elections authority in Ohio. Marbley said the court deferred to the secretary’s interpretation of election law.

Marbley’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed last week by supporters of Republican Steve Stivers. Those supporters say they are appealing to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, and Marbley granted an injunction to prevent ballots from bring counted until 9 a.m. on November 28th.