Skip to comments.Information Obtained from Office of Ohio Secretary of State.
Posted on 11/12/2004 9:05:29 AM PST by Positive
I just finished talking with Ken Blackwells office, the Ohio Secretary of State.
Here are some official answers to some of the issues of the 2004 Presidential vote count:
1. There are and estimated 155,000 provisional ballots that have been counted. These are still at the 88 county Election Boards and are not official counted by the state until the Election Boards submit them to the SoS. The Election Boards in each County have equal representation from both parties. Provisional ballots must be submitted to the State by 11 days after the election, which would be tomorrow, they will be officially reported by the state by the week of December 6.
2. The Absentee ballots are sent out by the Counties and are returned to the Counties. The SoS does not know how many were sent out or how many have been received as of now. These ballots have to have been signed by 11/2 and have to be received by the Counties by today. The must be counted and reported to the State by 12/1. Ohio, unlike some State does not offer Absentee Ballots to folks as a choice. The voter must be either out of the State (including overseas) or must have a specially exemption such as being in hospital or working at the Secretary of States office or at the Election Boards or Precincts.
3. Spoiled ballots are also counted and reported by the County Election Boards to the State by 12/1.
The officials with whom I spoke are very dubious about most of the numbers that are being bantered about by the media. In order to arrive at most of the numbers (how many spoiled ballots there are, how many absentee ballots there are) the media would have to have surveyed each of the County Election Boards and gotten accurate (albeit incomplete) information from whomever they contacted.
Bottom line is the State of Ohio does not now know how many Absentee or Provisional Ballots are out there. The Spoiled ballots will not become an issue unless the race becomes very close once the Absentee and Provisional ballots have been officially tabulated.
The one opinion I received was that due to the bipartisan nature of the Election Boards and the rear view mirror of previous elections, it is logical to expect that there will be no significant change in the final Official results due to the 2.5% (136,483 votes) margin currently tabulated.
Finally, I was kind of surprised to learn that the two officials with whom I spoke had heard nothing about a recount being purchased by Cobb and/or Bednarik. The simply said that .25% margin for an automatic recount was not nearly approached.
With Blackwell in charge, I expect a fair count of the votes....
We knew that..It's just a process..I say let them pay for all the recounts they wish..It just reinforces our win.
The funny thing is that Demos still scream about Florida 2000, even though several media outlets conducted their own count and concluded that Bush won. Ohio will be the same.
This was posted by Dirty Harry at his blog
Today In Ohio... Thus Far
Just got off the phone with a very helpful person in the Ohio Secretary of State's Office. The news appears to be all good. Here's the breakdown.
1. There's some question over the number of provisional ballots in Ohio due to dueling web-sites . The offical number of provisional ballots is in fact 155,337. The lower number is an old one.
2. He knew nothing of John Fund's claim that half of the provisional's had been discarded for irregularities. Last election 90% were found acceptable. The good news is that those votes historically break like the regular vote. He would be surprised to find an advantage for either candidate.
3. The verification of the provisional ballots ends today. The counting begins tomorrow. No number will be available as to how many are acceptable until all 88 counties report on December 3rd.
4. The 88,000 spoiled ballots WILL be counted even if no re-count is requested. These also historically break like the regular vote and should not give Kerry an advantage.
5. Today is the last day for absentee ballots post-marked no later than November 2nd to be accepted. These are mainly military and Florida snow-bird votes. These have not been counted yet and do not reflect in either candidates total.
6. All of this counting is done in the 88 separate counties by three Republicans and three Democrats.
7. The computer glitch that gave Bush 3200 over-votes has not been subtracted from Bush's unofficial total of 136,000. So put his advantage at 133,000.
8. Ohio Democrats have requested that every precinct look for similar computer counting glitches. This will be done before the certification and he had no idea if it had been done already. (This is the wild card in my opinion. When this is done, I'll exhale. Outside of a computer error it's impossible for Kerry to win.)
9. Once the vote is certified on Dec 3rd, the candidates have 5 days to request a recount.
10. If a recount is done, the same process that took place to certify the vote is repeated exactly. So, my contact believes that if Bush maintains a strong margin after the vote is certified, it will be virtually impossible for recount to change the outcome because nothing different happens.
So, if Bush comes out well ahead after certification, the recount will be symbolic.
A tally is kept where they are distributed. The point is that they are distributed in the precincts in the 88 counties and are validated and counted by those counties' Election Boards, then sent to the SoS.
Thus the SoS does not yet have the counts.
The only ones that were in my election pack last week were for curb-side voters, (those who can't walk or get transported inside the building).
I had five in the bag, and had to declare and present any that were used. This is a confirmable number by precinct and county.
"??? I wonder why they count these ? Could the results trigger a recount in any other close race on the ballot ?"
This statement does not jibe with what I was told by the SoS. That is, unless by "counted" it means that the Election Boards counted the number of spoiled ballots. A ballot with NO vote for president is spoiled, a ballot with votes for more than one candidate for president is spoiled, so they can't mean that they are "counted" in the vote totals, except by exclusion.
The SoS specifically told me that they do not know how many spoiled ballots there are...the only way anybody knows is if they called or visited or otherwise contacted each of the 88 County Election Boards and then totalled them. The SoS doesn't yet know how many there are.
Funny thing; according to John Fund, the Counties which used the punch card ballots did so because they didn't "trust" the computers. In Chads they trust, in Computers they don't.
I work in a precinct, and would have to talk to the County Board of Elections to get their slant on it.