Dems urge ballots be counted

By marc Kovac | R-C Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- Democrats in the Ohio House continued to voice concern Wednesday that some votes cast in last month's general election will not be counted, particularly in two tight races that could result in a super majority for Republicans in the chamber.

Reps. Kathleen Clyde, from Kent, and Debbie Phillips, from Albany, said the minority caucus is weighing its options to ensure provisional ballots cast by eligible Ohio voters are not tossed.

"Ohio is the heart of it all politically," Clyde told reporters during a press conference at the Statehouse. "We are the most important swing state in the entire country. And more than anyone else, we really need to lead, because the spotlight is on us. Instead, we're leading in all the wrong things, and thousands of Ohioans' votes are being illegally and needlessly rejected."

Husted's office is downplaying the concerns.

"We disagree with the representative from the 68th district as this is simply another attempt to create controversy where none exists," Matt McClellan, spokesman for the secretary of state, said in a released statement. "We are confident in our reading of the law, which has been affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. We are required to follow the law and uphold the integrity of the process."

Provisional ballots are submitted by voters who forgot their IDs, neglected to update their registration addresses or faced other questions about their eligibility.

The ballots receive extra scrutiny, with voters given time to verify their eligibility with county officials after Election Day.

About 205,000 provisional ballots were cast in the general election, according to unofficial totals posted by the secretary of state.

Democrats have been critical of Husted on the issue, saying his directives to elections boards will result in potentially eligible ballots being discarded.

And much focus is on two Ohio House races that will require automatic recounts, where provisional ballots could determine whether Republicans have a large enough majority to bypass Democrats when passing ballot issues.

Clyde urged Husted on Wednesday to address concerns about provisional ballots, "so Ohio can avoid costly litigation and Ohioans' votes will rightfully be counted."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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