Voting Nightmare Worries Ohio Officials

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 01:06 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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An new absentee ballot program meant to make voting easier in Ohio could end up keeping the presidential election hanging until late November if the final outcome depends on the swing state's 18 electoral votes, according to Cincinnati Enquirer.
 
About 1.43 million voters across the state have requested absentee ballots under the program, reports the  Enquirer, but only 620,000 had completed and returned them as of last Friday.
 
Elections officials expect that many of the remaining ballots still out will be returned by Election Day. But the program requires that anyone who does not return an absentee ballot, and chooses to vote in person, will have to cast a provision ballot, which won't be counted until at least Nov. 17.

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By law, the final vote count in the state doesn’t have to be completed until Nov. 27, meaning that a tight race in Ohio could leave the rest of the country holding its breath until all the state's provisional ballots are counted and certified as having been cast by registered voters.
 
“I really hope that doesn’t happen, but it could,” Tim Burke, chairman of both the Hamilton County Democratic Party and the county board of elections, told the Enquirer. “And we know that provisional votes can change an election.”
 
In the 2008 presidential election, some 207,000 provisional votes were cast Ohio. About 40,000 of them ended up being invalidated for one reason or another.
 

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