County boards of elections will be starting the process of counting provisional ballots this weekend. And in an interview with Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles, Matt McClellan of the Ohio Secretary of State's office says thanks to a new ruling by a federal appeals court, the ballots will be handled the way Secretary of State Husted wanted to handle them all along.
McClellan: It means the rules that have been in place for how we count provisional ballots will remain – specially when it pertains to voters needing to provide i.d. on their provisional ballot form
Ingles: So any voter that hasn’t provided the i.d. on their provisional ballot form, that ballot will be thrown out, right?
McClellan: Correct. Voters had 10 days and today is the last day they can return to the board of elections with id to make sure their ballot is counted.
Ingles: So how many people did that? Do we know?
McClellan: For this election, I don’t have final numbers and know what kind of group we are talking about. I don’t think it’s a larger group….maybe 2,000 or less but I don’t know that.
Ingles: How many provisional ballots did we have statewide?
McClellan: We had just over 204,000 provisional ballots cast in Ohio
Ingles: And what was the reason most of them were cast?
McClellan: Well we don’t know that but looking at previous years, the vast majority were people who hadn’t updated their address, didn’t bring i.d. with them, they could have not been registered, may have already voted. There are a number of reasons why people cast a provisional ballot but I won’t have details on that until counties report their official results.
Ingles: Typically how many provisional ballots are counted? Is there a percentage?
McClellan: I don’t know what that number will be. In 2008, there were a little more than 200,000 provisional ballots cast and of that, about 160,000 were counted and just under 40,000 were not counted due to a number of reasons.
Ingles: The local boards of elections can start counting these on Sunday?
McClellan: Well actually, they can start counting them tomorrow on the 17th. Boards had to wait 10 days because during that period they could still receive absentee ballots that were postmarked by the 5th that hadn’t arrived yet on election day and it gave voters the time to come in with i.d. So tomorrow is when boards will begin counting and they need to have that process completed by the 27th of November.
Ingles: So for voters who live in an area where a candidate is close or a levy hangs in the balance, when can they expect to see an outcome?
McClellan: Well county boards of elections are supposed to have the results certified by the 27th. Certainly they can do it before then but that’s the point and time when they would know that. All counties will send their official results to the Secretary of State’s office and (…then the secretary will certify the Statewide results.