Victory Against Vote Fraud in Ohio is Short-lived; Sixth Circuit Says to Dems: “Go For It!”
On Thursday a federal district court ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must perform voter verification required by the Help American Vote Act and provide that information to county election boards.
Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit vacated that order:
A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 last night in favor of Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to put on hold an order sought by the Ohio Republican Party involving information about new voters and concerns about potential fraud.
The three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Brunner is not required to provide county elections boards with the names of voters whose personal information does not match state motor-vehicle or federal Social Security records, as ordered Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith of Columbus.
The Court ruled that Republicans waited too long to challenge Brunner’s policies and that this “late-game litigation” could not be permitted. Moreover, it is the panel’s opinion that Brunner would likely win on the underlying question of HAVA requirements. The court believes “it would be nice if the system printed out a list of individuals…that did not match,” but “HAVA does not require that level of user-friendliness.”
The dissent says that Brunner’s “lack of concern for the integrity of the elections process is astounding and deeply disturbing.” The dissent and the Republican litigants are also crying foul because the panel rushed to deliver its opinion before the full Court had a chance to decide on their motion to accept the case en banc. That is still technically a possibility, but given the short time until the election and the fact that an opinion has now been issued in the case is less likely than if the panel had waited.
Ohio goes blue this year.
10/14 Update: The en banc Sixth Circuit overturned the panel decision! A link to the decision and discussion of the judicial inside baseball is here.