.....Elections workers will delay their final, official tally of Tuesday’s ballots — a total that could add more than 38,000 votes to unofficial results in some races — until Nov. 19, the day after state law lets them begin counting provisional ballots.
They said they don’t plan to open for business on Nov. 18, a Saturday, when Ohio State plays Michigan at Ohio Stadium. But they’ll issue final election results by Nov. 21, a week before the state requires them.
They could count nearly 18,000 absentee ballots now, but they said they’ll wait to avoid more unofficial numbers.
"Our goal is to accommodate our employees’ plans for both the OSU football game and Thanksgiving," said Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matthew Damschroder.
The decision to concede the day to college football will leave winners unknown a bit longer in four contests:
• In Ohio’s 15 th Congressional District, which includes 432 of 836 Franklin County precincts, incumbent Republican Deborah Pryce leads Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by 3,536 votes, according to the secretary of state’s office. (Franklin County puts the margin at 2,835.)
.....A total of 17,766 absentee ballots that were returned Monday and Tuesday will remain uncounted until after the OSU-Michigan game, Damschroder said, correcting an elections board spokeswoman’s earlier comment that they’d be tallied by today.
Of that total, 9,137 were cast by residents of the congressional district in which Kilroy and Pryce competed.
A total of 20,679 provisional ballots cast at the polls Tuesday potentially will be counted on Nov. 19 as well, but state law dictates much of that delay. Provisional ballots are cast by people whose registration is in doubt; the law gives officials time to validate a would-be voter’s eligibility or toss the ballot out.
Of the provisional total, 9,469 ballots were cast in the Kilroy-Pryce congressional district, while 878 were cast in precincts split between that district and another.
In addition, Madison and Union counties have a total of 918 votes in the district that are yet to be counted....
....Attorneys for Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell and voting-rights advocates who challenged new voter-identification rules before the election were back in federal court yesterday in Columbus negotiating rules for counting provisional ballots. They are to meet again today.
Pryce’s campaign, which declared victory on Wednesday, said it doesn’t mind Franklin County’s decision to sideline vote-counting while the Buckeyes take the field.
"That makes perfect sense to me," said spokesman George Rasley. "They’ve worked hard enough to get the day off."
During a boisterous rally at Ohio State University last night, Kilroy insisted that Pryce’s lead will evaporate once the provisional and absentee ballots are counted. She thinks that about a third of OSU students — a primarily Democratic constituency — voted provisionally.
Pryce "is wrong on the defining issues of our time," Kilroy told about 150 cheering supporters. "She is also wrong if she thinks she won this election."
Did you get that------our Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell will be in court to get a ruling on how to count provisional ballots. My advice is COUNT THEM ALL!!!!Here is a posting from the Kilroy for Congress web page:
In unofficial figures released late yesterday by the Franklin County Board of Elections for the entire 15th District, the Upper Arlington Republican had 100,343 votes and Kilroy had 97,508.
About 21,000 provisional ballots and 20,000 absentee ballots cast in Franklin County and received Monday and Tuesday remain to be counted, with about half of those in the 15th District, according to Franklin County election officials.
Kilroy said those uncounted votes, particularly those in heavily Democratic precincts around Ohio State University, could tilt the balance her way. Kilroy edged Pryce in Franklin County in early returns.
"This race is still on," Kilroy said. "It's not decided yet."
Kilroy's campaign manager, Scott Kozar, was more optimistic: "When all the ballots are counted, Mary Jo Kilroy is going to Congress."