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Federal Judge Orders That Tracie Hunter Can Vote

Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter
Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter
Suspended juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter
Credit Hamilton County Juvenile Court
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Suspended judge Tracie Hunter

A federal judge ruled Thursday that suspended  juvenile court judge Tracie Hunter should be allowed to vote in the November election.

The Hamilton County board of elections had removed her from the voting rolls because of her 2014 felony conviction. She faces a six-month jail term for unlawful interest in a public contract.

Hunter voted in 2015, after her conviction, but was removed from the voting rolls in March of this year because of her felony conviction.

But Hunter sued the board in U.S. District Court, arguing that because she is not incarcerated, she has not lost her right to vote.

Both the appeals court and the Ohio Supreme Court have refused her appeal, but, in May, just before Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker was to impose sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black granted an emergency stay which has kept her out of jail.

Black is in the process of hearing Hunter's petition for a writ of habeas corpus which, if granted, would release her from the control of the common pleas court.

Thursday, U-S District Court Judge Michael Barrett issued a temporary injunction in Hunter's favor, saying that the board can't reject Hunter's voter registration.

Next Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote in the November 8th election. Early voting begins in Ohio on Wednesday.

Barrett set a hearing for a preliminary injunction in Hunter's case for Friday, October 14th.

Tim Burke, the chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, said the board will meet next Tuesday and decide whether or not it wants to pursue the Hunter case or drop it.

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