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News Media Access to Polls in Ohio

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
September 9, 2017
Available Online Only

ABC v. Blackwell (Michael H. Watson, S.D. Ohio 1:04-cv-750) and Beacon Journal Publishing Co. v. Blackwell (Paul R. Matia, N.D. Ohio 5:04-cv-2178)
On the morning before the 2004 general election, news media sought federal court orders granting them access to polls in Ohio. Separate lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of Ohio and the Northern District of Ohio. The Southern District action challenged a directive by Ohio’s secretary of state that exit polling not be conducted within 100 feet of a polling place. Late at night on the day the case was filed, the judge granted the media injunctive relief against the directive. In the Northern District, news media sought access to the polls for reporters and photographers. The second district court denied the media relief, but the court of appeals vacated that decision and granted the media injunctive relief a few hours before the polls closed.
Subject: Polling place activities. Topics: Exit polls; news media.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.