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Provisional ballot verification to keep election workers busy



Published: Fri, November 5, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Voters who had their eligibility challenged also cast provisional ballots.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

Local elections officials will be busy in the next few weeks verifying the addresses of voters who cast provisional ballots Tuesday.

There are 2,717 uncounted provisional ballots in Mahoning County, as well as 2,700 uncounted provisional ballots in Trumbull County. The ballots won't affect any countywide races, but they could determine whether some local issues pass or fail.

There are 1,084 uncounted provisional ballots in Columbiana County that could affect the outcome of the race between incumbent state Rep. Chuck Blasdel of East Liverpool, R-1st, and Democratic challenger Frank E. Rayl Jr., as well as the race between Democrat Craig Brown and incumbent county Recorder Jeff Hochadel, a Republican. Blasdel and Brown are the unofficial winners in their respective races, Blasdel winning by 505 votes, and Brown by 618, according to election results released Tuesday.

Address changes

Provisional ballots are cast by voters who change addresses in Ohio after the voter registration deadline. The state mandates that boards of elections can't start counting provisional ballots until the 11th day after an election, giving elections officials an opportunity to make sure voters are correctly registered.

That 11th day is Nov. 13, a Saturday. But local county election boards wait until the following Monday, Nov. 15 in this case, to start counting provisional ballots.

Mark Munroe, president of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, stressed that the end of the presidential election has not changed the process used to count provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots also were cast by voters who had their voting eligibility challenged Tuesday. Mahoning elections Director Michael Sciortino said he's not sure how many challenges there were in his county; elections officials in Trumbull and Columbiana said there were no challenges in their counties.




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