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Election watch ~ Ohio, provisional ballots key to outcome

[JURIST] [JURIST Election Special] Bringing to a close JURIST's live all-night election coverage, here's an overview of some of the remaining issues as the nation awaits the final outcome of a tight presidential election.... Ohio remains the focus of the nation's attention this morning, as the election results have not been called there. Litigation over voting in the state remained unabated through the day, including a lawsuit over long lines in Franklin County that went to the 6th Circuit. The major legal issue in the Ohio election is provisional ballots and how they will affect the outcome there. Reports indicate that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell has said that provisional ballots will not be counted for 11 days. A final figure on the number of provisional ballots in the state is not yet available (the Secretary of State's office has this running tally), with some estimates as high as 250,000. The current vote margin has Bush ahead by 136,221 votes. Election Law @ Moritz has this analysis of the provisional ballot issue. The Kerry campaign has pledged not to concede until all votes are counted, which could result in a replay of some of the same issues as the 2000 election. The Federal Election Commission has more on the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which mandated provisional ballots for voters whose registration was in doubt.

UPDATE: Election Law @ Moritz has more on recount procedures in Ohio, which are set out in chapter 3515 of the Ohio Revised Code.

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