Ohio could delay outcome of presidential election

The same type of ballots that held up the 2004 presidential results are in play again. A repeat could be in the offing Tuesday if the contest hinges on Ohio and the margin of victory is slim.
Associated Press
Nov 3, 2012


In a tight race, the ballots cast when voters don't bring the proper ID to the polls, among other reasons, become crucial to the outcome.

By law, these so-called provisional ballots can't be counted for at least 10 days after the election — Nov. 17, this year — to give Ohio officials time to verify a voter's eligibility.

Recall the drawn out disputes in the presidential contest eight years ago between President George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry.

The number of provisional ballots cast then was larger than Bush's margin of victory over Kerry — about 119,000. Kerry didn't concede until the next morning. A recount initiated and paid for by third-party candidates took weeks but didn't change the outcome.

With 18 electoral votes, Ohio again is at the center of both candidates' campaign strategies.

And the close race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has some concerned a conclusion could take days.

Some elections officials fear more Ohioans will be required to vote a provisional ballot this year after Secretary of State Jon Husted sent absentee ballot applications to about 6.9 million residents. Those who request the mail-in ballots but decide to vote in person on Election Day will have to vote a provisional ballot.

About 370,000 mail-in ballots — roughly 28 percent of the 1.3 million requested — had not been returned as of last Friday, according to Husted's office. That number is expected to decline as the election nears.

Husted says he can't predict how many provisional ballots will be cast this year. But he has told reporters he expects the state will be able to declare a winner.

"I just believe that we'll have the information necessary on election night to have a degree of confidence as to who won Ohio," Husted said Thursday.

Ohio had a provisional voting system in place before a 2002 federal law required states to have them.

Ohioans cast about 206,000 provisional ballots in the 2008 presidential election — second only to California. Husted's office estimates that 130,000 of those ballots were cast because voters didn't update their address.

Husted, a Republican, has tried to curb the number cast this year by allowing registered voters to update their addresses online.

How certain provisional ballots get counted in Ohio has been part of an ongoing legal dispute.

But on Wednesday, a federal appeals court put on hold a lower court's order that would have required the state to count ballots cast not just in the wrong precinct but in the wrong polling location altogether.

In response to a federal court ruling, Husted has already ordered poll workers to count ballots cast by voters who show up at the correct polling place, but are mistakenly directed to an area where votes for other precincts are being cast.

Other elections in Ohio have hinged on provisional ballot counts.

Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy overcame a 594-vote deficit to beat Republican Steve Stivers by 2,311 votes in a 2008 congressional race after provisional ballots were counted in Franklin County, home to Columbus.

Edward Foley, an elections law expert at Ohio State University, said voters shouldn't assume there's a problem if Ohio's results don't immediately point to a winner in the competitive presidential or U.S. Senate race.

"In a close election, it's to be expected in this new world of provisional voting that some outcomes are just going to have to wait for the evaluation of provisional ballots," Foley said. "That in and of itself is hardly a crisis. It's the system working as designed."



The Big Dog's back

SOS husted is trying his darnedest to have robme win Ohio. Shades of ken blackwell.



Super Judge

I'm worried that if Romney wins THEY will riot!

Darwin's choice

Not "if" but "when" he wins !!!!


Funny, The DEMOcrats will riot if a democratic issue is resolved democratically. Buncha nut jobs if you ask me, anyone that would riot if they were out voted.


Yeah they really got out of hand when Bush's brother LITERALLY stole the election for him in 2000.


Really? It was the Dems who took it to court, they lost at the SCOTUS level, get over it. The fact is the only way liberals can win with their ideas is to have their ideas forced on people via their lapdogs in the judiciary.


Yeah they really got out of hand when Bush's brother LITERALLY stole the election for him in 2000.


@ itypedformiles:

If VP Gore woulda won his home state of TN, the outcome in FL wouldn't have mattered.

Obviously, Tennesseans didn't even want him. LOL.

Heck, even his wife left him.

Stolen election is a nice conspiracy nut theory though.

Don't cry for Mr. Gore, he's worth a reported $100M from investing in companies that got those govt. green energy subsidities. Thank you Mr. Obama!!!



LOL. The Democrats I know would be the last people to riot. We don't have a nutcase wing of our party, as do the Republicans with their Tea Party faction. That's not to say that we don't recognize the many unscrupulous efforts GOP leadership is doing across the country to suppress the Democrat vote.


I agree that most of the Democrats I know wouldn't riot, either. But we don't live in Los Angeles or Cleveland or Detroit or New York. All you need to do is look at the filth and the obscenities at some of the "Occupy" protests, and you can see what SOME Dems might do! I'd also point out that it wasn't Republicans who seeded a parking lot with nails and the like prior to Mitt Romney rally, nor was it Republican union members driving around in a union-owned truck stealing Romney signage near Toledo.

As for "voter suppression," well, if you're talking about ID laws, what's your problem? How is that "suppression?" You have to present an ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes. You have to provide some evidence of identity to get food stamps or other government aid (which in and of itself shows that low-income citizens are perfectly capable of getting some form of ID). You need to show ID to cash or write a check. (Unless, of course, you're an illegal immigrant with fake IDs or NO IDs all too often being conveniently ignored...)

There can be no democratic process if the process itself is subverted. And part of the subversion would involve voter fraud such as ineligible voters whether they're dead voters, multiple-vote voters, or non-citizen voters. (Don't even get me started on illegal foreign campaign contributions!)


What you don't need is an ID to vote and you shouldn't. You need an ID to register and each person only gets 1 vote so what is the problem? If there is SOOOOOOOO much voter fraud where is the evidence?


@ deertracker:

Pres. Obama showed his photo ID to vote. So much for the "minority voter disfranchisement" nonsense.



You don't need an ID to register. My son just filled out a form & mailed it in. Then they sent the card telling him where to vote. That was it. That's why IDs should be required at the polls.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q... Yeah Occupy people are always peacful. HA! A bunch of animals throwing temper tantrums when they do not get their way.


@ coasterfan Re: "We don't have a nutcase wing of our party, as do the Republicans with their Tea Party faction."

Supporters of The Left Wing (Dems, for those who do not know) all around the internet are calling for every anti-American extremist play in the book, including (but FAR from limited to) an end to "the Zionists..." and Capitalism.
Hm, isn't that what the extreme wing of the Islamic community is calling for as well?

/run sarcasm
I know. I know. The Tea Party "hates us for our freedoms" tho, right? They hate when we are told that we can have an abortion for any little reason whatsoever and the taxpayer should foot the bill if it comes to that.
Stay classy, Left Wing!
/end sarcasm