Words that will send you screaming into the night
The Los Angeles Times has a couple of warnings about watching the results come in from Ohio.
It’s very possible that the nation will be looking closely at early poll results from Ohio next Tuesday to see who that state chose for president, and therefore, who won the presidential election.
But the early results may not be conclusive, or even very helpful, according to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who held a news conference to outline how results will be tallied and distributed on election night.
After polls close, Ohio will begin the evening by releasing the results of absentee ballots it received before election day, Husted said, at around 8:30 p.m. About 1.3 million absentee ballots have been sent out to voters — and about 72% have already been cast, he said.
Though those absentee votes may imply the election is going one way, those results could be completely turned around over the next few hours as results from in-person voting come in. The secretary of state’s office will release results from big counties every 15 minutes, medium-size counties every 30 minutes and small counties every hour.
It gets worse.
If the election is close, America will have to wait 10 more days for the final results. That’s because Ohio, unlike most other states, has a law that stipulates that the secretary of state must wait 10 days before counting provisional ballots and late-arriving absentee ballots. All absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 5 to count.
An automatic recount can’t happen until Nov. 27, Husted said. An automatic recount is triggered in Ohio when the result margin is less than 0.25%, or about 14,000 votes in an election in which 5.6 million votes are cast (5.7 million Ohioans voted in 2008).
“There are three or four states today, Bret, that require a recount if the result is within a certain number of percentage points. And so it’s not in — not entirely unlikely that we might have a recount in a — in two or three of those states. And that could then trigger what happened in 2000,” former Secretary of State James Baker said about the possibility of a recount.
And then there are states like Wisconsin that allow a recount to paid by the taxpayers if the vote difference is within one half of one percent. Election night could be a long month.