“Wrong Number: The crucial Ohio voting battle you haven’t heard about.”

I have written this Jurisprudence essay for Slate.  It begins:

Fights over new tough voting restrictions, imposed mostly by Republican legislatures and elections officials, are finally getting the national attention they deserve: Thank you, Sarah Silverman, for your video, expletives and all, about new and controversial voter identification laws. But an appeal being argued today by telephone, SEIU v. Husted, has remained obscure—even though if the election goes into overtime in Ohio, it could be key to the resolution of the presidential election.

At issue are potentially thousands of Ohio ballots that the state will not count solely because of poll worker error. Here’s the problem: A number of the state’s polling places, especially in cities, cover more than one voting precinct, and in order to cast a valid vote, a voter has to be given the correct precinct ballot. Poll workers, however, often hand voters the wrong precinct ballot mistakenly. In earlier litigation involving a disputed 2010 juvenile judge race in Hamilton County, Ohio, a poll worker testified to sending a voter whose address started with the numbers “798” to vote in the precinct for voters with odd-numbered addresses because the poll worker believed “798” was an odd number. This “right church, wrong pew” problem with precinct ballots was a big problem in 2008, when over 14,000 such ballots were cast.

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