Ohio election officials were allowed Saturday to begin counting provisional ballots after a last-minute court battle that threatened to inject a layer of uncertainty in the process. The stakes are smaller with the presidential race decided, although Ohio has three state House races whose outcomes still are unknown. They could determine whether Republicans will increase their majority. Republicans have a 58-38 edge, but if that grows to 60 or more, the GOP could automatically place ballot issues before voters.
Court battles over provisional ballot counting pitted Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, overseeing his first presidential election, against voter advocates including those representing homeless voters.
Federal appeals courts backed Husted twice, though not before federal judge Algenon Marbley of Columbus harshly criticized the secretary of state for actions he took late in the election process.
On Friday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed a directive Husted issued three days before the election, meaning some provisional ballots without proper ID information can be thrown out. That decision overruled a Marbley decision earlier in the week.