More than 9,000 late-arriving Montgomery County absentee and provisional ballots were approved to be counted Monday morning, enough to leave at least three local races from the Nov. 8 election in doubt, election officials said.
There were more than 3,000 provisional ballots cast in Montgomery County on or before election day, plus about 6,300 absentee ballots that were postmarked on time and arrived between the Sunday before Election Day and the Nov. 18 deadline. Those ballots will be totaled Nov. 29, Board of Elections Director Jeff Rezabek said.
In the Montgomery County Commission race, Jordan Wortham held a 50.3% to 49.7% lead over incumbent Democrat Carolyn Rice, unofficial results at the end of Election Day showed. Wortham’s lead at that point amounted to 1,040 votes. The outcome will depend on the breakdown of the 9,000-plus ballots approved for counting Monday.
In the 36th district Ohio House of Representatives race, Republican Andrea White leads Democrat Addison Caruso 51.01% to 48.79%, according to the unofficial results. That lead amounts to 870 votes, pending the counting of these last ballots. But that Statehouse district covers just less than one-fourth of the county, so there will be many fewer than 9,000 ballots to affect the outcome.
Meanwhile, a 4-mill fire and EMS tax levy in Perry Twp. was passing by eight votes, according to the unofficial Election Day results. It is unclear how many of the provisional and absentee ballots that will be counted on Nov. 29 are from residents who reside in that area.
It’s important that the election board has enough to time make sure everybody who cast a legal ballot has their vote counted, Rezabek said.
“There are races out there that can be affected by just the actual totality of all votes,” Rezabek said. “This is why it’s important to again reiterate that election night tallies are unofficial results.
“Our job is to make sure that we legally count all of those legally cast ballots, and that is what we are in the process of doing, and I think everyone is very confident that we are in the process of getting the numbers correct,” he said.
Rezabek said having provisional and absentee ballots that need to be added after Election night isn’t abnormal. He said it will become more common moving forward, as people become more comfortable voting absentee, and as election boards offer weekend and Monday early voting heading into Election Day.
“Those three days ... take my team away from doing the processing that’s needed for absentee ballots,” Rezabek said.
Overall, about 4,000 provisional ballots were cast in the general election, the director said, and a little more than 1,000 of them will not be counted. He said the most frequent reason ballots were disqualified is that the voter was not registered to vote.
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