Election Law

Three Voting Lawsuits Filed; Provisional Ballots Could Be Big Battleground

Democrats have filed lawsuits in Florida and Ohio in a preview of the litigation likely to swirl around the election.

In Florida, two suits were filed. Democrats sued on Sunday to extend early voting in South Florida after some people were unable to vote because of long lines, report the New York Times Caucus blog, the New York TImes and Bloomberg News. Another suit filed in Orange County resulted in a ruling on Sunday that extended voting hours at an Orlando-area polling place that had shut down because of a suspicious package.

In Ohio, Democrats filed an emergency motion on Thursday to contest a last-minute directive for provisional ballots that puts the onus on voters, rather than poll workers, to record the form of identification used, report the Atlantic and the Columbus Dispatch.

Wayne State University law professor Jocelyn Benson told Bloomberg that the big legal battleground this year could be over the counting of provisional ballots in swing states. “Provisional ballots could very likely be the hanging chads of 2012,” Benson said. “The battle over provisional ballots will take center stage where any election is close and a significant number of such ballots have been cast.”

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