— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) November 4, 2012
Punters should factor in the Ohio legal battles
There are huge legal battles taking place in Ohio against moves by John Husted, the Republican Secretary of State and the man in charge of the state’s crucial elections on Tuesday.
He’s already caused controversy by trying to limit early voting and this went to the Supreme Court. Now there’s news of further actions which seem aimed at depressing the Democratic party vote in the state. This is from the Cleveland Leader:-
Issued on Friday, the directive lays out the requirements for submitting a provisional ballot. The directive includes a form that puts the burden on the voter to correctly record the form of ID provided to election officials, and Husted instructed election officials not to count ballots if the form is not filled out correctly by a voter.
Voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit late Friday, stating that this is “contrary to a court decision on provisional ballots a week ago and contrary to statements made by attorneys for Husted at an Oct. 24 court hearing.”
Husted directive also appears to be in violation of Ohio law. The lawsuit states:
Ohio Rev. Code Â§ 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a provisional ballot proffers identification, â€œthe appropriate local election official shall record the type of identification provided, the social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the ballot . . . .â€
Ohio law also â€œensures that any questions regarding a voterâ€™s identification are resolved on the spot or, consistent with due process, the voter is informed that he or she needs to provide additional information to the board of elections. This protects the integrity of the voting process, and provides a reasonable opportunity to resolve deficiencies.â€
Husted’s last minute directive changes this and puts the burden on the voter, which greatly increases the chances that legal provisional ballots will be discarded.
The court has given Husted until Monday to respond to the lawsuit, and said that it would resolve the dispute before provisional ballots are counted on November 17.
Given the time-scale then if the election is close we might not get an outcome from Ohio until November 17th. The result could be dependent on the courts.
The actions of Husted are not, as far as I can work out, being factored into the projection of the overall outcome.
I’m a gambler who doesn’t like to lose, and this, together with similar actions in other swing states, raises a level of doubt about what’s going to happen.
I’m not moving from my current betting position that I win the same whoever gets elected. I’ve also closed down, at a profit, my “buy” spread-bet on Obama receiving more than 290 electoral college votes.
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