Federal judges rule in GOP's favor on Ohio ballot boxes
CINCINNATI (AP) - With early voting in Ohio, a court ping pong game for restricting the number of ballot boxes in the president's battlefield state was dismissed in a federal appeals court on Friday with a decision in favor of Republicans.
A three-judge panel of the US 6th Court of Appeals agreed to a motion by Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose to postpone a lower federal judge's decision to block his policy, which Democrats believe would restrict voters' access to the election.
With his order intact again, LaRose can appeal against US District Judge Dan Polster's ruling that the drop box limit interferes with "vital constitutional suffrage".
Failure to grant residence would harm the electoral process as resources may be wasted while the case is being cleared, wrote Judge Richard Griffin. The stay is also unlikely to harm anyone, as Ohio has plenty of voting options, he wrote.
"The Supreme Court has repeatedly stressed that the lower federal courts should not normally change the electoral rules on the eve of an election," Griffin wrote. "Here the district court went one step further and changed the voting rules during an election."
The early voting in Ohio began on Tuesday.
Polster's decision was the second time in the past few weeks that a court ruled against LaRose's policy.
Voter supporters are keen to expand access to Dropboxing, which some voters see as an attractive option amid concerns over cuts to the postal service and the coronavirus pandemic, and which are often sought after by urban, more democratic counties.
Three courts have berated LaRose for the original drop box policy, calling it unreasonable and arbitrary. A state appeals court made it clear that he had the authority to change the legal order.
The waters continued to tarnish when LaRose issued an update to the policy restricting it to or “outside” of the county electoral offices. Polster interpreted this as meaning outside the building, including outside the building, while LaRose's office argued that it was restricting the boxes to the property of the electoral authority.
The federal appeals court is now the highest court to have received part of the case and has given LaRose - and its Republican allies on the case, including President Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee - a victory.
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