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December 07, 2008

Republicans May Win Another Close Race, This Time in Ohio, as State Supreme Court Reverses Yet Another Partisan Jennifer Brunner Directive

Damage mitigation:

The results of a tight congressional race in central Ohio were expected late Sunday as election officials finished counting thousands of provisional ballots.

Officials of the Franklin County Board of Elections began processing the 24,000 ballots Saturday in the race between Republican state Sen. Steve Stivers and Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy.

Stivers leads Kilroy by 594 votes out of nearly 290,000 cast in the 15th Congressional District. About 40 percent of the 24,000 provisional ballots came from voters in the district.

The counting of the provisional ballots — issued at polls to people who believe they have been wrongly denied the right to vote — went forward after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Friday that 1,000 of the ballots in dispute must be thrown out because of voter error.

In a 4-2 decision, the court struck down a directive by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner saying the votes should be counted.

Justices said Brunner improperly instructed county officials to apply conflicting standards to election law by ruling that the votes should be counted, even though the envelopes failed to comply with legal guidelines set out before Election Day, Nov. 4.

The disputed ballots contained errors on the outer envelope, such as no signature or name. Others had the signature or name written in the incorrect space.

If Stivers holds his lead, Ohio's congressional delegation would be evenly split among nine Republicans and nine Democrats.

A reminder of how critical down-ticket state races are. The Secretary of State has an enormous amount of power, and may just be inclined to use it corruptly.

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posted by Ace at 05:04 PM

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