Decided in the Courts?

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This day before the 2004 election was a day where the courts have made as much news as the candidates have. Three Ohio courts have ruled that the Republican Party can not use challengers to determine who's eligible to vote at the polls.

What it means to voters is that only a poll worker can challenge the validity of their registration. What it might mean in terms of who's elected Tuesday, particularly in the presidential race, isn't quite as clear.

The Ohio Republican Party says the challengers are needed to prevent voter fraud. State Democrats counter that the Republicans are trying to suppress Tuesday’s vote turnout to help President Bush win re-election.

The ruling was applauded by a Marietta College political professor.

"The federal court is saying if you go to the polls to vote," says Jackie Delaat, "and there's something wrong with your credentials, that is something for the official people who are deciding who's voting to rule on."

Late Monday afternoon, a federal appeals court declined to overturn Monday morning's ruling. This is the second court ruling involving Tuesday’s Ohio elections in a little more than a week.

A federal appeals court last week ruled provisional ballots Ohio voters cast outside their own precincts should not be counted.