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Friday, 2 November 2012

Ohio Voting Count 'Nightmare' Looms - could force entire country to wait 10 days to find out who will be president -

Ohio Voting Count 'Nightmare' Looms - could force entire country to wait 10 days to find out who will be president - 



With the presidential election expected to hinge on Ohio, the state’s former secretary of state, GOP stalwart Kenneth Blackwell, is warning that a little-known change in the Buckeye State’s absentee-ballot process could lead to a “nightmare scenario.”

And that scenario could force the entire country to wait 10 days after the election to find out who will be the next president of the United States. It’s a complicated situation, to say the least, but one that could have a far-reaching impact on the Nov. 6 election process.

For the first time in the key swing state’s history, Blackwell says, virtually all Ohio voters this year were mailed an application for an absentee ballot. In previous elections, most Ohio voters had to request an application for an absentee ballot to receive one.

The concern is that thousands of Ohio voters may complete the absentee-ballot application and receive an absentee ballot, but not bother to complete and mail in the ballot. 

Anyone who is sent an absentee ballot — including those who do not complete it and mail it in — and later shows up at the polls on Election Day to cast their ballot in person will be instructed to instead complete a provisional ballot.

And under Ohio election law, provisional ballots cannot be opened until 10 days after an election. 

“I would just say that this is a potential nightmare-in-waiting,” says Blackwell.

Blackwell believes that could result in an unprecedented number of provisional ballots being filed – some 250,000 or more. Such a large number of ballots being held, presumably under armed guard, for 10 days until they can be opened, would bring to mind the historic 2000 post-election battle in Florida. That recount was marked by ballot disputes — and inevitably, lawsuits.

“You’re talking about craziness for 10 days,” Blackwell tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “They won’t even be opened to be counted for 10 days.”
According to a report by Barry M. Horstman of the Cincinnati Enquirer, absentee-ballot applications were mailed to 6.9 million of Ohio’s 7.8 million registered voters.

As of Oct. 26, Ohio election officials had mailed out 1.3 absentee ballots. Of those absentee ballots, 950,000 had been completed and mailed back in.
That leaves some 350,000 absentee ballots that had been requested and sent to voters, but had not yet been received. 

Ohio voters who requested an absentee ballot, but did not complete it and mail it back in, will not be allowed to vote normally.

Explains Blackwell: “So they go to the polls and say, ‘I want my ballot.’ And [poll workers] say, ‘Oh, we see you applied for an absentee ballot.’ The voter says, ‘Oh, I changed my mind.’ And they say, ‘That’s well and good, but we have to guarantee that you don’t vote twice. You have to fill out a provisional ballot.’” 

Provisional ballots are used whenever someone shows up at the polls whose eligibility to vote cannot be immediately verified. Their name may not show up on the voter rolls, for example. 

Rather than turn them away, state election officials typically have those individuals indicate their voting preference with a provisional ballot. Once their eligibility to vote has been established, the vote can be counted.

The use of provisional ballots is intended to prevent any voter from casting one ballot by mail, and then a second ballot at the polling place.

Read more - 
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/ohio-provisional-ballots-delay/2012/11/01/id/462413

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