We could easily see a situation in which the nation has to wait for Ohio because of provisionals,” said Ed Foley, an Ohio State University law professor and nationally respected expert on election law. “We ought to start thinking about those what-if scenarios now rather than the Wednesday morning after the election.
The stated objective of Husted’s decision to send absentee ballot applications to nearly 7 million registered voters was to make things easier. Instead, it is causing a calamity.
Cincinnati.com reports on a truly nightmare scenario.
As of the time of the report, 1.43 million Ohioans requested the absentee ballot. According to Husted’s office, only 618,861 returned their vote. Both numbers are expected to grow by the deadline for most Ohioans to request an absentee ballot on November 3.
Nearly 190,000 people cast their absentee ballots in person at the designated early voting centers.
It’s possible that many of the 800,000 plus voters who have yet to return their completed absentee ballot are planning to return them closer to Election Day.
However, it’s just as possible that many of these voters may opt to vote in person, and that’s where the problems start. This means they would have to cast provisional ballots, so that election officials can cross check to confirm that people didn’t vote absentee then vote again in person.
Provisional votes will not be counted until November 17th.
If the election hinges on the outcome in Ohio, that means we will be waiting for several weeks to know the outcome of the election.
There is nothing about this program that makes voting easier. Rather, it has created confusion to the point that the results of the election might not be known until late November.
Given Husted’s history, it is more likely that his intent was to create even more confusion for voters. This is the same Secretary of State who attempted to restrict early voting in Democratic leaning counties, while maintaining the previsious early voting days and hours in Republican strongholds.
This is the same Jon Husted who thinks it’s “un-American” for Democrats to vote early. His policies suggest that Husted’s idea of America is giving preference to Republican voters. So dedicated is Husted to an America in which Democrats votes are suppressed, that he defended his position in the courts, including the Supreme Court. After losing every legal battle, Husted restricted the available hours that people who vote in the three days leading up to the election.
This absentee ballot program has created more problems than Husted may have intended to resolve.
While it remains possible that some of the people who have yet to return their completed absentee ballot; the more likely scenario is a substantial increase in provisional ballots, which cannot be counted until November 17th.
Not only did Husted make voting in Ohio more complicated, he created additional work for election workers because now they will have to cross check many more provisional ballots than they had to in the past. This means the results in Ohio will be delayed and if the election depends on the outcome in Ohio, the nation will have to wait weeks to know who will be elected President.
Husted deserves a 1 finger salute in appreciate of his efforts to make voting in Ohio “easier” immediately followed by losing his job.
Image from Daily Kos