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US Supreme Court Allows Disputed Registrations in Ohio

Anywhere between 200,000 and 600,000 new Ohio registrations were at issue. A federal district court had ruled that the new registrations would be in question until the Ohio Secretary of State updated a voter information database (a near-impossible task in the time remaining until election day).

The full panel of the Sixth Circuit had affirmed (by a 9-6 vote) the district court’s decision earlier this month. The Supreme Court (in an extraordinarily rapid move) has today reversed the Sixth Circuit and vacated the TRO placed on the Secretary of State by the district judge. The short per curiam unanimous opinion is here (pdf). Discussion is here: CNN, Scotusblog, New York Times.

Considering that in 2004 George W. Bush won Ohio’s 20 electoral votes over John Kerry by about 118,000 votes, and that a large majority of new registrants are thought to lean Democratic, the number of new registrations at issue here could be pivotal in a close election.