If the presidential election really does come down to Ohio, and the Buckeye State is as close as some recent polls indicate, America might not know its next president until December. That could plunge Ohio into the middle of a bitter legal drama reminiscent of the 2000 presidential election in Florida. From hanging chads to butterfly ballots, the Sunshine State came under heavy criticism for how it conducted the vote, which was eventually decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Could Ohio withstand similar scrutiny? “Truthfully, it will likely come down to one simple question: Is it close?” said Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials. “If it is, and the scenarios (outlined below) come true, things will get ugly.
“We have a saying in elections: ‘As long as humans are running elections and voting in elections, they will not be perfect.’ If it all comes down to Ohio, the nation will expect us to have a perfect election, and that simply isn’t going to happen. We can have a good election, or even a great election, but it won’t be 100 percent perfect.”
Here’s how America’s second “overtime” election in 12 years could develop in Ohio:
After all the votes are counted on Tuesday, the difference between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney is relatively small — say in the range of the 11,116 votes by which Jimmy Carter prevailed over Gerald Ford in 1976.
The number of provisional ballots, plus totals from overseas, military and last-minute absentee ballots that have not yet been received, is relatively high. The 2008 election saw almost 208,000 provisional ballots, 80 percent of which were counted.
Under that scenario, neither candidate likely would concede, and the country would be on hold for 10 days. That’s how long those casting provisional ballots have to provide documentation that their vote should count. It’s also the deadline for the overseas/military/late-absentee ballots.
Full Article: Election may not wrap up Tuesday | The Columbus Dispatch.