Absentee Voters Claim Ohio Mails|Prepaid Applications Only to Some

     CINCINNATI (CN) – Ohio is allowing some counties to send all of their registered voters postage-paid applications for absentee ballots for the November elections, while other counties do not send out applications at all, voters say in a federal complaint. The plaintiffs from four counties claim the disparate treatment imposes an unconstitutional and “unequal burden” on voters.




     The voters claim Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is violating the 14th Amendment by allowing an “unequal system of voting by absent voter’s ballot that deprives Ohio electors of the right to participate in elections on an equal basis.”
     Brunner is a Democrat.
     “Several Ohio counties have indicated that, at least for the November 2, 2010 election, they will mail applications for absent voter’s ballots to all electors within the county,” the complaint states. “Some of those counties have further indicated that they will prepay the postage to submit the application to receive an absent voter’s ballot. Other counties, however, will not mail applications to all electors and will not pre-pay the postage to submit the application.
     “Several Ohio counties have also indicated that, at least for the November 2, 2010 election, they will pre-pay the postage for the elector to return the absent voter’s ballot to the director of the board of elections in that county. Other counties have indicated they will not pre-pay the postage for the return of the absent voter’s ballot for the November 2, 2010 election.
     “Thus, a voter in one county is subject to different rules and requirements regarding absent voter’s ballots than a voter in another county.”
     Voters thus are subject to varying rules and an “unequal burden” if they want to vote.
     The voters seek temporary and permanent injunctions declaring that “(a) Ohio county boards of elections cannot send applications for absent voter’s ballots to all electors in the county unless all Ohio counties are required to mail applications to all electors in the county; (b) Ohio county boards of elections cannot pre-pay the postage to submit the application for an absent voter’s ballot unless all Ohio counties are required to pre-pay the postage; and (c) Ohio county boards of elections must require the elector to pay the postage to return the absent voter’s ballot to the director of the county board of elections consistent with R.C. 3509.05(A).”
     They are represented by Robert Tucker with Baker & Hostetler.

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