Democrats Deluding Themselves in Ohio

“Sen. John Kerry's campaign refused to concede early Wednesday, arguing that more than 250,000 provisional and absentee ballots remained to be counted in the key battleground state of Ohio.” CNN, November 3, 2004. I have some thoughts on the Ohio voting that suggest a bit of desperation in the Kerry campaign for holding on to this issue and thereby tying up the election’s finality.

1. The appellate court reversed the Clinton-appointed judge that held that a provisional ballot could be counted even if the voter went to the wrong precinct. To be counted, any provisional ballot in Ohio would have to be cast in the correct precinct that matched the voter’s registration. Ohio Revised Code, Title XXXV, § 3503.06 requires that voters be registered at least thirty days before the election. Ohio law requires U.S. citizenship and no felony convictions as well as residence from the time of registration to the time of voting within the same precinct.

2. The logical presumption is that if someone was registered that their registration would be on the voter rolls on November 2. If they were not on the voter roll it would be either: (a) because they did not register at all; (b) they registered in a different precinct; or (c) they were inadvertently omitted on the printout. If they registered and are not on the precinct’s voter roll, but they are not a citizen, they are a convicted felon or they were trying to vote in the wrong precinct, then they would not be eligible to vote in any event and they provisional ballot will be unlawful.

3. So by simply referring to the number of provisional ballots, the media is being very misleading and overly charitable to the Kerry campaign. The presumption should be that provisional ballots are already unlawful and cannot be counted.

4. Simply referring to the number of potential provisional ballots is grossly misleading. If there were 250,000 ballots taken because people were not on the voter rolls, the chance that this is a mistake or error by elections officials and not the attempted voter is small. Even then, the unspoken assumption that all of these voters will be for Kerry or will break heavily for Kerry is also inaccurate. The chance that someone would go to the wrong precinct (i.e. a first-time voter or less educated voter) would be higher potentially for a Democratic voter based on their demographics, but they vote will not be counted in any event. The mistakes by the election officials on the voter rolls should be random and thereafter not favor either candidate.

5. Absentee military ballots, on the other hand, should add about 4,000 Ohio votes to the Bush total when they are counted.

I find it impossible to see how the Kerry campaign can overcome a 125,000-vote deficit by this ploy.

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