What happens if the Ohio governor’s race is too close to call?

Pollsters and pundits expect the Ohio governor’s race between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray to be close. Really close.

What happens if it’s too close to call on Election Night? The outcome may hinge on provisional and mailed-in absentee ballots.

Ohio’s official canvass starts Nov. 17 and end Nov. 27 – unless Secretary of State Jon Husted orders an expedited schedule. Also provisional ballot voters who didn’t have proper ID at the polls can return to their county boards of elections to vote by Nov. 13. And, absentee ballots postmarked by Nov. 5 and received by Nov. 16 will be eligible to be counted.

In a close election, provisional ballots could swing the results. Ohio’s provisional ballot count in the midterms can range: 2014 it was 44,528, 2010 it was 90,206 and 2006 it was 104,581.

In 2010 when Republican John Kasich ousted Democrat incumbent Ted Strickland, just 77,127 votes separated the two. It was the closest Ohio governor’s race in more than three decades.

Republican political strategist and elections stats guru Mike Dawson said based on absentee ballots so far, he is predicting voter turn out will hit 57 percent, or 4.6 million votes, which would be a record for an off-year election. Dawson runs OhioElectionResults.com.

Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The first wave of results will be from mailed-in absentee ballots, which will likely be posted to the Secretary of State’s website shortly after 7:30 p.m.

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