Ohio is violating the Constitution by not providing recently jailed eligible voters the opportunity to cast a ballot, a new lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday on behalf of two Ohioans who are currently in detention after being arrested in recent days, is asking a federal judge to order election officials in the state to allow recently jailed detainees to cast absentee ballots. The deadline to request absentee ballots in Ohio was the end of-business-day Friday, Nov. 2, in person and noon, Saturday, Nov. 3 by email.
The challengers — who are seeking class-action status — were arrested after those deadlines. The lawsuit was filed by Campaign Legal Center (CLC), Dēmos and the MacArthur Justice Center after the Campaign Legal Center sent Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) a letter in October requesting that he address this issue.
“These late-jailed electors, whose fundamental right to vote is not invalidated by their detention, have no means to access the ballot on or before Election Day,” the lawsuit said. The challengers are seeking a temporary restraining order in the lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of Ohio.
The lawsuit points to Ohio statistics showing average daily jail population statewide to be 19,209 — with 11,123 of those detainees being those held for pretrial detention.
“[A] substantial number of the individuals booked into Ohio county jails on or after the weekend before Election Day will be eligible to vote,” the lawsuit alleges, while pointing to a 2014 analysis showing that between “438 and 479 voters registered in Ohio were unable to cast ballots because they were in jail the weekend and Monday before the election.”
Read the lawsuit below: