Monday, November 03, 2008

Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Trial Court Ruling On Absentee Ballots

Democrats appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals Marion Co. Circuit Court Judge Theodore Sosin's injunction against Clerk Beth White from her instruction that precinct election boards decide challenged absentee votes and count them along with other valid votes cast on election day. The Court of Appeals granted a stay of the trial court's injunction, but a unanimous Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and is allowing Judge Sosin's injunction to stand, which means challenged absentee votes will be counted by the county election board after the election and not be precinct boards on election day. Chief Justice Randall Shepard held:

Although I find some ambiguity in the statutory scheme, I think it is best read to require that when an absentee voter is challenged at the polls for the reason that the absentee voter is not a legal voter of the precinct where the ballot is being cast, the absentee ballot is from that point forward treated as a provisional ballot and counted by the county election board using the procedures for counting a provisional ballot under IC 3-11.7. I.C. 3-11-10-21. At the time the county election board determines the validity of a challenged absentee ballot under IC 3-11.7, it is to give effect to the provisions of IC 3-11-10-22.

Read more on today's ruling at the Indiana Law Blog.

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