Federal judge hears case on Ohio voter ID definitions


COLUMBUS — Voter advocates asked a federal judge Friday to extend a court order they say ensures that broad definitions of voter identification requirements would remain in place in the frequent presidential battleground state of Ohio.

Attorneys for Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, the state’s top election official, said Mr. Husted is committed to the more lenient voter ID definitions, unless the legislature changes the law.

At issue is whether a 2010 expiring court agreement that governs provisional ballots and forms of voter ID in Ohio should continue.

An attorney representing homeless voters told the federal court in Columbus that without the decree, the state would return to a “Wild West” system in which county election boards could apply vague standards unequally and unfairly to legitimate voters.

Cleveland attorney Subodh Chandra told U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley that his clients would like the decree to continue indefinitely, or at least until 2021, which could allow state legislators to put into law the broad identification definitions.

Since the decree was issued, Mr. Chandra told the court, “the General Assembly has simply failed to do so.”