Turns out Ohio GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted is making Ken “Let’s give Ohio to Bush!” Blackwell look like a saint.
Pollsters and pundits have trained their eyes on Ohio, where President Obama maintains a narrow lead over Mitt Romney just days before the election. According to exit polls, Obama’s lead is even stronger among early voters. But several recent developments threaten to disenfranchise many of these voters and plunge Ohio into a bureaucratic nightmare on election night.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on Thursday that a data-sharing glitch and mistakes by election officials have caused thousands of absentee ballot requests to be rejected. While Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted maintains that this was a computer error, the Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates found an abnormally high rate of rejected absentee ballot requests in Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Cleveland. The Cuyahoga Board of Elections determined that 865 ballot requests had been erroneously thrown out.
If these voters try to cast their vote in person, they will likely be forced to use a provisional ballot, as the absentee ballot error has thrown their registration status into question. At least 4,500 registered voters across the state will be left waiting for their absentee ballots, while as many as 6,000 provisional ballots cast by registered voters could be tossed out. The provisional ballots that do not get thrown out won’t be counted until November 17, according to state law, further dragging out the confusion.
And you thought Florida’s 2000 recount fun was awesome. Between this and Josh Romney’s involvement in voting machines in Hamilton County/Cincinnati, Tuesday night could be really, really long.