The U.S. District 6 court has sent the election suit against Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner back to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The U.S. District 6 court has sent the election suit against Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner back to the Ohio Supreme Court.

In question are approximately 1,000 provisional ballots that did not include both the signatures and printed names of voters on the ballot envelopes.

Franklin County voters Dana Skaggs and Kyle Fannin filed a complain Nov. 13, on behalf of Republican Steve Stivers' campaign, against Brunner requesting that those ballots not be counted.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley ruled the missing names or signatures were the result of poll worker error and should be counted. The lawyer representing the voters immediately appealed.

The appeals court ruled Wednesday that the case was a matter of state law and sent it back to the Ohio Supreme Court, where it was originally filed. Brunner requested that it be moved to the federal court system.

The court case delays the counting of more than 27,000 provisional ballots in Franklin County. Under state law, no provisional ballots can be counted until all are verified.

The delay leaves in question the winner of the race for the U.S. 15th congressional race and two Ohio House races.

As of Nov. 26, Stivers led Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by only 594 votes in the congressional race, with Madison and Union counties having certified their votes, and the races for the Ohio House's 19th and 20th districts were too close to call without the results of the Franklin County's provisional ballots.

Lawyers were being asked to file their paperwork with the court Monday, Dec. 1.

The court case voided the statewide Nov. 25 deadline for counties to certify their vote counts, said Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli.

Terry Casey, who is involved with the case through Stivers' campaign, said if the provisional ballots in question were counted, it would mean that different guidelines were used in Franklin County than in Madison and Union counties, the other counties comprising the 15th congressional district.

"We want to make sure the same rules and interpretation of laws was being enforced in all three counties," Casey said. "We want to make sure it's an even playing field."

"That points out even more why it's important for all counties to follow the directives and guidelines that the secretary of state's office issues before the election," said spokesman Kevin Kidder. "That could have headed off this problem."

Piscitelli said the board of elections will move as quickly as possible to count votes once the final court decision is made.

Once the results are certified, Piscitelli said the board will know if an automatic recount is needed. A recount is required if a race is within one-half of 1 percent. It would not take place until a week after the counts are certified.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com