Absentee, provisional ballots will be counted Aug. 18 to determine Ohio special election winner

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — After an intense campaign across all seven counties of the district – and an emotional election night the candidates for Ohio’s 12th congressional district remain separated by 1,564 votes – less than one percent of all votes cast.

Republican Troy Balderson has declared victory while Democrat Danny O’Connor says it’s still too close to call.

Elections officials say, by law, provisional and outstanding absentee ballots cannot be counted until August 18.  

There are 3,435 provisional ballots spread out among the seven-county district. 

Mike Dawson, an elections statistics expert, says it’s reasonable to expect that about 90 percent of the provisional ballots cast will be determined valid and eligible.

Dawson says provisional ballot results tend to lean a little more toward democrats and that bodes well for O’Connor.

“Normally they tend to vote a little bit more democratic than the actual (Election Day) – about five percent more – so my calculations allow for both of those things and he ends up with another 281 votes on the provisionals,” Dawson said.

Election officials say there are 5,048 outstanding absentee ballots. They have to arrive by August 17 and have to have been postmarked by August 7.

Dawson says normally only about 20-30 percent of outstanding absentee ballots come in.

“It could be higher this time because the republicans started late so their ballots got mailed out later and they’ll be returning them later,” Dawson said. 

Dawson said it’s unlikely the provisionals and absentees will swing enough votes to change the outcome of this election. He says, that too would be in keeping with history.

“I’m not aware of any election in Ohio, any significant election, that changed as a result of provisionals or absentees.”

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