Ohio ID Law Suspended for Absentee Voting

Associated Press
Friday, October 27, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 26 -- A federal judge suspended Ohio's new voter-identification law Thursday as it applies to absentee voting, saying the state's 88 counties are inconsistently applying the rule in the voting, which is already underway.

U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley granted the restraining order on behalf of labor and poverty groups that sued Tuesday.

The ruling is in effect until Wednesday, when the judge will consider arguments from the same groups seeking to block application of the identification law for voters who go to the polls Nov. 7.

A lawyer for the state said an appeal will be filed.

Ohio has a tight Senate race and a closely watched governor's race.

The law requires voters to produce identification when they check in at polling stations. Lawyers who filed the lawsuit said it is unconstitutional because of enforcement inconsistencies.

The secretary of state's office has argued that county election boards should have a clear understanding of the law because the state sent instructions to them.

The suit, filed on behalf of the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, said voters are facing different requirements from county boards for accepting military IDs, driver's licenses and Social Security cards.

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