OHIO COULD HOLD UP ELECTION RESULTS
By VICTORIA JONES
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – A new Ohio program intended to make voting easier could keep the presidential election in doubt until late November if the national outcome hinges on the state’s 18 electoral votes.
In brief, the undersecretary of state’s initiative sent out absentee ballot applications to nearly 7 million registered voters across Ohio. More than 800,000 people so far have asked for but not yet completed an absentee ballot. Anyone who doesn’t return an absentee ballot, deciding instead to vote at the polls, will be required to cast a provisional ballot (to verify they didn’t vote absentee as well). By state law, provisionals may not be counted until November 17 – so you see, this thing could drag on.
Another potentially sizable chunk of ballots will also be uncounted on election night: absentees postmarked by November 5 and that reach election boards within the 10 post-election days allowed.
In past elections, most Ohioans had to proactively request an absentee ballot. This year the process was simplified the process by sending an application to registered voters nationwide. An unintended consequence of that could be to increase the number of people who ask for an absentee ballot but do not use it, not realizing that means they must vote provisionally at the polls.
Four years ago, nearly 40,000 provisionals – roughly one in five – were invalidated for various reasons.
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