Election Day in Ohio is Tuesday, as in every other state in the union. But if the margin in the presidential contest is narrow here, as many polls predict, the winner may not be known until well into December. Ohio, like several of the other battleground states that are expected to determine the outcome of the election, has a labyrinthine recount procedure that ensures weeks of delay and the likelihood of a mountain of lawsuits. Election officials and election law experts are praying for a result here that Daniel P. Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University, described as “outside the margin of litigation.”
What sets Ohio apart is the large number of provisional ballots — those that election officials could not verify on Election Day for any number of reasons: because the voter had a new address, did not provide proper identification, did not appear in the state’s computerized voter registry or had requested an absentee ballot and turned up at the polls on Election Day. Under federal law, voters whose eligibility cannot be verified at the polling place must be allowed to cast at least a provisional ballot; such ballots must be counted if election officials later confirm that the voter is legitimate.
“We’re expecting 200,000 or more provisional ballots — that’s more than New York or California — and that means that an election is contestable here with a margin in the low tens of thousands of votes,” Mr. Tokaji said.
Voting rights groups and the Service Employees International Union have complained that Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, has set voter identification rules for provisional ballots that are overly strict and violate the law. Mr. Husted said that his directive is consistent with the law and past practice in Ohio. A federal judge on Monday set a hearing for Wednesday on the dispute so that it can be resolved before counting of provisional ballots begins.
Full Article: Ohio Law Could Bring Long Delays in a Recount – NYTimes.com.