On Tuesday, February 5, 2008, federal district court Judge Kathleen O’Malley presided over a hearing on the ACLU’s motion requesting a preliminary injunction.
The ACLU asked the federal court to require Cuyahoga County to protect voters’ rights during the March 4, 2008 primary by utilizing a voting technology that alerts voters to possible mistakes on their ballots that would result in their votes not being counted.
Attorneys for the ACLU, Secretary of State Brunner, Cuyahoga County’s Board of Elections and Board of County Commissioners presented volumes of evidence, including five witnesses.
At the end of the seven-hour hearing, Judge O’Malley denied the ACLU’s request for an injunction for March 4th primary. While the court recognized that the ACLU raised valid concerns, the court found that it was too late for Cuyahoga County to make changes in time for the March 4th primary.
The ACLU is naturally disappointed by the court’s ruling and what it means for Cuyahoga County’s voters.
Anyone voting in Cuyahoga County is urged to diligently check your ballot for any mistakes before handing it in. When in doubt - for example, about whether you completely erased a mark – ask for a new ballot. Under Ohio law, you are entitled to up to three ballots to make corrections.
The ACLU will continue to pursue all avenues to protect the rights of voters in Cuyahoga County and throughout Ohio. A trial in ACLU v. Brunner will likely be scheduled prior to the November 2008 general election.
For a case background on ACLU v. Brunner go to our ACLU of Ohio's letter to members and supporters about this important voting rights case.