LaRose: State to track unreturned ballots on election night, could delay final count

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COLUMBUS, OH – OCTOBER 06: An early voter stands near a social distancing that were laid out on the sidewalks for people in line to distance from one another outside of the Franklin County Board of Elections Office on October 6, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio allows early voting 28 days before the election which occurs on November 3rd of this year. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Friday that while there will be results released on Election Day, those results won’t reflect the final number of votes.

In a press release, LaRose said all county Boards of Election will be required to report all outstanding absentee but unreturned ballots and provisional ballots on election night. With the number of absentee ballots requested this election season, this number can help “candidates and media from calling races before they should,” LaRose said in the release.

“The Secretary of State’s election night reporting website will highlight this data to underscore the fact that the election night results are never final as there are still outstanding absentee and provisional ballots that could impact the outcome of a race,” the release stated.

Election night’s unofficial results will include all in-person votes cast that day as well as absentee ballots that have been returned and early votes.

As of Oct. 6, more than 2,150,000 absentee ballots have been requested by Ohioans.

For seven days following Nov. 3, the county Boards must be open to allow voters to resolve any issues that may arise with their ballots. For the first time in a general election, LaRose said every county Board of Election will attempt to contact any resident who has an issue with their absentee ballot.

County Boards of Elections will begin its official canvass of votes on Nov. 14 and finish that count by 2 p.m. Nov. 18. The canvas will include all certified ballots that were cast.

As secretary of state, LaRose will issue his official certification of the election results after this date.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon on Oct. 31, but election and postal officials are urging people not to wait that long if they want their ballot to arrive on time. Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2; voters can drop off their ballots at secured drop boxes at county Boards of Election until Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The remaining hours for early in-person voting are:

  • October 19-23: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • October 24: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • October 25: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • October 26-30: 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • October 31: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • November 1: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • November 2: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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