Federal Judge Extends Voting Rights Court Order

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A federal judge has extended a court decree in Ohio that governs provisional ballots and voter identification.

U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley said Monday that the agreement ensures that election officials count votes cast provisionally when voters use the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. He's extended the order until the end of 2016.

The 2010 decree was set to expire in June, but voter advocates wanted it extended indefinitely. They say it helps prevent local election boards from applying rules unequally, possibly leaving some voters disenfranchised.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, Ohio's top elections official, argued against the extension, saying there was no evidence a single Ohioan would be denied the right to vote if the decree expired. Attorneys for Husted say the decree is unnecessary.