366 provisional ballots may be rejected

Clark County Board of Elections employees have recommended 366 provisional ballot envelopes cast on Election Day be rejected due to lack of voter registration, identification or other errors.

As of Friday afternoon, elections’ staff had processed nearly 2,000 of 2,351 provisional ballot envelopes. The ballots could decide the Clark County commission race between political newcomer Kyle Koehler and Commissioner David Hartley. Koehler, vice president of K.K. Tool Co., currently has the edge with 205 votes, but that could change after the provisional ballots are counted or if necessary, after a recount.

Today is the first day the board of elections officials statewide can begin counting provisional ballots, but Director Matthew Tlachac said they will likely not be presented to the board of elections for validation until Nov. 26. The votes would then be counted on Nov. 27, which is the last day allowed by the state, he said.

Tlachac said employees may work today to complete the initial review of the ballot envelopes.

“If we work (today), we’ll be done (today) with the initial review,” Tlachac said, adding that a full bi-partisan review of the envelopes are needed before the process can be completed.

On Friday afternoon, elections’ staff recommended that 10 percent of the provisional envelopes be rejected, including 185 due to the lack of voter registration, 89 because the voter voted in the wrong precinct and 33 because the envelope did not have a signature. Eleven had returned an absentee ballot and were also recommended for rejection.

Tlachac said the number of valid provisional ballots could change once the court battle of how the ballots should be counted ends.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Friday, granting a stay of a decision earlier this week by a judge that ordered Husted to count provisional ballots cast by voters who did not provide the proper ID on their ballot envelope.

Husted said in a statement, he was pleased the court ruled to “uphold consistent standards and to maintain the integrity of Ohio’s elections process.”.

Tlachac said elections’ staff will wait to get direction from the state on how to proceed as the issue makes its way through judicial process.

“I’ve tried to follow it the best I can…We’re waiting on direction from the state. If they have a different direction we categorize them so we can go back through them pretty easily.”

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