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The Ohio GOP suffered another legal defeat Tuesday, as a federal appeals court ruled against the party's appeal involving a disputed early voting window that allows Ohio voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied the Ohio GOP's request that, at the very least, ballots cast during the weeklong period be segregated from other ballots cast for the Nov. 4 presidential election.

A federal district judge in Columbus declined to rule on the matter Monday. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the early voting window in a 4-3 decision the same day, while a federal judge in Cleveland also sided with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

The appeals court noted that the lower district court did not rule on the matter of the voting window, and said the argument involves facts about how election officials handle absentee ballots that must first be presented to a lower court.

Bill Todd, a lead attorney for the Ohio GOP, said the party was discussing its options Tuesday night. It wasn't known whether they planned to further appeal.

The appeals court also gave Brunner a second victory, rejecting a GOP challenge to her advisory that county boards of elections weren't required to allow poll observers during early voting.

A federal judge in Columbus issued a temporary restraining order against Brunner's instructions Monday. But the appeals court overturned that ruling, saying the district court had abused its discretion in granting the order.

Thousands of Ohioans went to the polls Tuesday for the first day of early voting. Ohio's largest counties had several hundred voters each, and a small portion of them also registered Tuesday.


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