Homeless advocates, Democrats appeal Ohio voting rules

Posted at 12:49 PM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 12:49:35-04

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Advocates for the homeless and the Ohio Democratic Party filed a longshot appeal with the Supreme Court on Wednesday, asking the justices to block election rules that could disqualify thousands of absentee and provisional ballots because of minor mistakes or omissions.

The high court typically is reluctant to impose last-minute changes on election procedures. But the lawyers filing the appeal with less than two weeks until Nov. 8 election said the ballots in question would only be counted after polls close in any case, so a court order would not interfere with the election.

The emergency appeal was filed with Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees such appeals from Ohio and neighboring states. Kagan called for a response from Ohio's secretary of state, Jon Husted, by Monday morning.

Earlier this month, Husted ordered elections boards to count provisional ballots with some minor mistakes if voters' identity and eligibility can otherwise be verified.

But the appeal to the Supreme Court said Husted's order did not go far enough and could itself be overturned by a state court.