Jailed Ohio Voters Are Suing The State So They Can Vote
Ohio voters arrested and jailed after the deadline to request an absentee ballot filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday seeking emergency court action so that they can vote in the midterm elections. Several hours later, a judge agreed to give the two registered voters who brought the lawsuit access to absentee ballots, but ruled it was too late to do anything for the broader group of inmates potentially covered by the case.
Under Ohio law, a person in jail facing criminal charges does not lose their right to vote. In order to vote while incarcerated, however, defendants have to request an absentee ballot; in-person requests had to be made by Nov. 2 and mailed requests had to be received by Nov. 3. The lawsuit contends that a "substantial number" of people booked into county jails on or after Nov. 2 are eligible to vote but won't be able to.
Mark Gaber, senior legal counsel with the Campaign Legal Center, one of the groups involved in filing the lawsuit, told BuzzFeed News that CLC estimated more than 400 eligible voters were jailed over the weekend. There are 72 county jails in Ohio, according to the lawsuit.
"These are eligible voters who have no other means of voting because of Ohio election law as it currently stands," Gaber said.
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