The Election Law blog at OSU’s Moritz College of Law points out five things to keep your eye on during the Ohio primary. Of particular interest to me: provisional voting.
High Rates of Provisional Voting. We should look at provisional voting in Ohio on March 4 not only to see if anyone is denied the opportunity, but also to see how many voters are forced to cast provisional rather than regular ballots. Ohio had among the nation’s highest rates of provisional voting in the 2004 and 2006 general elections. Indeed, Ohio was one of the few states to increase its rate of provisional voting from 2004 to 2006, rising from 2.7% of all ballots cast to 3.1%.
Moreover, some counties in Ohio had rates of provisional voting significantly above the statewide average. For example, Franklin County (where Columbus, the state capital, is) had a provisional voting rate in 2006 of 5.1%. These provisional ballots were a factor in the recount of the closely fought congressional race for Ohio’s 15th district between incumbent Deborah Pryce and challenger Mary Jo Kilroy. A similarly high, or even higher, volume of provisional ballots conceivably could be a factor in the awarding of delegates between Clinton and Obama.