Election 2012: The Buckeyes have it

(LIN) — Tuesday is the day many have been waiting for.

For President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, it’s the thrill of victory or vindication of defeat in a presidential race.

For Americans living in swing states, it’s the day the excessive of political advertising comes to an end.

For political parties and campaigns, it’s the moment where hard work and anticipation collide as your candidate could come out on top.

Yes, Election Day will finalize the 2012 presidential race and we can all go back to life as usual with a new four years ahead of us.

Or can we?

Ohio is one of the few states to watch, as voters there could swing the election either way. Unfortunately, it’s also a state with provisional ballot rules that could hold up election results until days after the election.

Although America will see the unofficial results on election night, these results will not include provisional ballot numbers or the absentee ballots that are counted after election night.

According to Ohio law, the official canvassing of votes cannot begin until Nov. 17, which is two Saturdays after Election Day.

The official canvass is the compilation of all election night returns, eligible provisional ballots and absentee ballots received by Nov. 16 and postmarked by Nov. 5.

So, if the margin between the two candidates is a smaller number than the number of votes outstanding, all eyes would stay on Ohio for another week, awaiting those results.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says there is nothing that can be done to expedite this process.

“Provisional ballots are second chance ballots, not second class ballots,” he explains. “Under provisional ballot rules, they have a chance to be counted.”

Included in the provisional ballots are those cast by voters whose identity or validity cannot be verified.  If someone doesn’t have proper identification, if his or her name doesn’t appear in the state’s voter roles, or if he or she requested an absentee ballot, but still came to the polls to vote, they will cast a provisional ballot.

The actual number of outstanding absentee or provisional ballots yet to be counted will not be immediately available on Election Day, either.

And let’s not forget about the r-word

“The term recount doesn’t even need to be discussed on election night,” Husted says. “You have to count all of the other ballots first before a recount is even considered.”

Husted and his team say a recount doesn’t even become an issue until Nov. 27, when the state board of elections sends its certified results to Husted’s office.

While there are many scenarios that could delay finding out election winners in Ohio, Husted says he expects Ohio will declare a presidential winner on election night.

A few of the preparations Husted’s office has taken include reducing the number of duplicates on the state’s voter roll (from 340,000 to 1,400), spending $760,000 on poll worker training and removing more than 160,000 deceased voters from voter rolls.

It is Husted’s hope that by eliminating a lot of the need for provisional ballots, the voting day process will be streamlined.

Just 72 hours before Election Day, more than 1.6 million Ohioans cast their ballots in early voting and absentee voting procedures. According to Husted’s office 85 percent of all absentee ballots have been returned at this time.

Polls close Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Copyright 2014 LIN TV News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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