Hunter has been waiting 19 months for a decision in the unresolved Judicial race
Cincinnati, OH (BlackNews.com) — Nearly one year after the election, while one of two Juvenile Court seats remains vacant in one of Ohio’s largest counties, U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott will soon rule whether the Hamilton County Board of Elections (BOE) must count almost 1000 votes that were rejected in last November’s election, impacting the outcome of an unresolved judicial race separated by 23 votes. More appeals are expected in the case that: fueled in part Ohio HB 194; symbolizes the fight to end voter suppression; and has already reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It has been a long time coming, but I will stand as long as necessary to ensure that justice prevails and that voters are enfranchised. I only set out to change the Juvenile Court, a system that has historically over incarcerated and under rehabilitated children, especially those of color. I never intended to also challenge and change the electoral system in the process,” said Tracie Hunter. “While a grave miscarriage of justice has occurred, I hope that because of my stance, a brighter future lies ahead for all voters.”
A candidate since the February 2010 primary, Hunter sued the BOE in November for violating the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Constitution when it counted some provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct, but rejected others, tainting the close election.
In a case that could surpass one million dollars in legal fees, according to the prosecutor’s office that represents the BOE, many believe Hunter’s race is a factor. As most provisional votes were cast in poorer, predominantly African-American neighborhoods, if the Court orders the rejected votes to be counted, Hunter could become the first African-American Judge in the 107-year-old history of Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court.
Hunter’s opponent, former director of the BOE John Williams was recently appointed Clerk of Courts while Hunter remains in limbo. Williams and the BOE filed joint appeals to prevent counting rejected votes as originally ordered. “It appears politically biased, but as an African-American female from Cincinnati, I accepted long ago that life is not fair or equal,” said Hunter.
Hunter seeks a permanent injunction against the BOE and its members: prohibiting them from rejecting any provisional ballots miscast in the wrong precinct November 2; and ordering them to count all provisional ballots miscast due to poll worker error before the BOE conducts the automatic recount required due to the closeness of the election.
Hunter won the May 2010 primary against the endorsed Democratic candidate by over 60 percent. After final votes were tallied in November’s election, she allegedly trailed Republican opponent John Williams by almost 3000 votes. After winning over 65 percent of all provisional votes counted 10 days later, she closed the gap to 23 votes.
For the most up to date legal coverage of Tracie Hunter’s case, go to: