On Tuesday night, it looked like Republicans would hang on in Ohio’s 12th district Special Election for an open congressional seat, but the results have narrowed in the past couple days. Democrat Danny O’Connnor says he has no plans to concede the race until all provisional and absentee ballots have been counted and certified. Just yesterday, the vote totals narrowed and the margin for Republican Troy Balderson’s slight victory has diminished, though he still holds the lead.
CNN picks up the story in Ohio where the question of an automatic recount may become reality:
Democrat Danny O’Connor has no plans to concede the special election for the Ohio 12th Congressional District to Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson until all provisional and absentee ballots are counted, his campaign manager tells CNN.
Annie Ellison, O’Connor’s spokeswoman and campaign manager, says the campaign is confident that the thousands of ballots left to count could bring the margin within .5%, a split that would trigger an automatic recount.
“There is totally enough of a chance that out of the ballots that are left there are enough to go for Danny and bring us within the .5 needed for an automatic recount,” Ellison said.
“We are going to do our due diligence,” she added, arguing that now is not the time for O’Connor to concede or talk with Troy.
With all early- and Election-Day-votes counted on Tuesday night, Balderson led by 0.9 percentage points. However, the Ohio secretary of state reported there are 8,483 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots left to count — much more than Balderson’s 1,754-vote lead.
It’s still unlikely that O’Connor will come out ahead, but nowhere near impossible. If the remaining ballots split roughly 50/50, Balderson will retain the lead. However, it’s possible that the vote could tilt closer to O’Connor, falling within the 0.5% difference which will trigger an automatic recount in the 12th Congressional District.
Franklin County announced yesterday it actually … found some missing votes. The story on this from Cincinnati.com:
Election officials in Franklin County found 588 previously uncounted votes in a Columbus suburb. The result: O’Connor had a net gain of 190 votes, bringing the race’s margin down to 1,564.
“The votes from a portion of one voting location had not been processed into the tabulation system,” according to a Franklin County Board of Elections news release.
That includes 3,435 provisional ballots and 5,048 absentee ballots, which will be tabulated by Aug. 24.
It always stuns me when election officials simply “find” hundreds of votes that weren’t counted on election night. I’m not alleging there is impropriety, but from a voter’s perspective, this can leave you wondering whether your vote truly gets counted in every election, simply at the expense of human error.
As noted, the final results won’t be certified until August 24, at which point we will learn whether this election is headed into an automatic recount. The ironic part about Ohio-12 is that both candidates, Balderson and O’Connor, will be on the ballot again in November for the 2018 midterm so OH-12 voters get to do this all over again in a couple months.