Barry M. Horstman reports:
Perhaps the major problem with Election Day in Ohio Tuesday was this: It may not be over in at least some races.
With tens of thousands of Ohioans casting provisional ballots that will remain uncounted until at least mid-November, results in some local races may not be clear until families are beginning to defrost their Thanksgiving turkeys.
Overall, voting at the polls Tuesday, though not without problems, appears to have come off relatively smoothly, as more serious concerns that some worried could suppress votes or undermine electoral integrity did not emerge to a significant degree.
“When I was asked whether we had any irregularities, I said, ‘Just the regular irregularities,’ ” said Tim Burke, who chairs both the Hamilton County Democratic Party and county Elections Board. “I haven’t seen anything malicious out there. It wasn’t anything like we feared.”
Provisional ballots, however, could prove to be every bit the post-election headache some predicted.
Statewide numbers on provisional ballots – cast when there are questions over voters’ eligibility, often after they move or change their name without updating their registration – were released Wednesday morning.
Four years ago, about 207,000 provisional votes were cast statewide. Many believe that number could grow this year, in part because of a new program that extended absentee ballot applications to all Ohio voters. Those who did not use requested ballots, however, had to vote provisionally if they showed up at the polls. The number of unused absentee ballots as of Monday totaled about 177,000; that number likely will shrink over the next 10 days as mailed absentees arrive by the Nov. 16 deadline.
Under state law, those ballots cannot be counted until at least Nov. 17 as part of an official tabulation that must be completed by Nov. 27.