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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's Tedious And Ten Days For Ohio

Sitting like many with fingers crossed, we are hoping for a win in Ohio, which would completely change the results of the election. But as we learned four years ago, this isn't worth holding breath for because 10 days means lots of litigation. (As I was writing this and posting this, Kerry conceded. So all is naught. Bush is reelected. I am so tired.) Absentee ballots and early votes sit in the wings:

    In Ohio, 11,473 precincts out of 11,477 have reported. Bush has 2,791,912 votes to Kerry's 2,653,046 votes - a lead of 138,866 votes for the incumbent that, on the face of it, seems decisive. The catch is absentee ballots and provisional ballots, estimated to be anywhere between 75,000-250,000. Though conservative estimates put the number of absentee and provisional ballots under 100,000 - that is, well inside the lead Bush enjoys. Democrats however claim that the figure is closer to 250,000, and that when those ballots are counted, their candidate could well edge the president out of the race. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, in whom the authority of overseeing the electoral process in the state and announcing the result vests, has said that as per state law, absentee ballots will not be counted for the next ten days. The rules in the state stipulate that an absentee ballot posted on election day, and bearing that day's postmark, is valid. Thus, Blackwell argues that time has to be given for those ballots posted today to arrive in the mail; all mailed in ballots have to then be collated, validated, and counted. Thus, according to existing rules, Ohio can hang in the balance for the next 11 days.


    Bush is currently leading in Ohio by 136,221 If there are 250,000 provisional ballots outstanding. The highest number I've seen. And 90% of those ballots are good, as they were in 2000. That leaves 225,000 votes. If 85% of those ballots prove to be for Kerry, about the number that Gore got in 2000. That leaves us with 191,250, giving us a lead of 55,029. If there are only 200,000 provisionals, following the same calculation would leave us with a lead of 16,779. If the provisional ballots are only 175,000 that leaves us with a deficit of -2,346 that will leaves us in a position to get an automatic statewide recount. Or, to put it another way, an automatic recount is triggered by a margin of 0.25% or between 13,000 and 16,000 votes.