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Special Election Update: County Boards of Elections May Begin Official Canvass Tomorrow

COLUMBUS – Starting tomorrow, August 18, county boards of elections may begin the official canvass for the special election held on August 7. Boards must have the official canvass completed by August 24.

What is the official canvass?
The official canvass is the tabulation of all eligible ballots cast that includes absentee, Election Day and provisional ballots. During the official canvass ALL eligible provisional and absentee ballots cast are counted.

How many ballots have yet to be counted?
As of Election Day, the unofficial results showed that there were 5,084 outstanding absentee ballots and 3,435 provisional ballots. History shows that 10-20 percent of outstanding absentees and 80-90 percent of provisionals cast will be eligible to be counted under Ohio law.

Under Secretary Husted, on average, 99 percent of absentee ballots cast have been counted and 90 percent of provisional ballots cast have been counted. This is up compared to the previous administration, when on average 97 percent of absentee ballots cast were counted and 85 percent of provisional ballots cast were counted.

What is a provisional ballot?
Ballots cast by voters whose identity and/or eligibility could not be verified. These are not included as part of the unofficial canvass on election night as Ohio law prohibits boards of elections from counting any of these ballots until the official canvass, which can begin on the 11th day following Election Day. Provisional voters who did not provide a form of identification on Election Day had until August 14, seven days after Election Day, to return to the board of elections to provide an acceptable form of identification so that their provisional ballot could be considered for counting.

What is an absentee ballot?
Ballots cast prior to Election Day outside of Election Day polling locations, which includes absentees cast by mail, in-person prior to Election Day, and military and overseas ballots cast either by mail or in-person prior to Election Day. Those received by Election Day are tabulated as part of the unofficial canvass on election night. Those received after Election Day are referred to as outstanding absentee ballots, which includes ballots sent to voters but not yet returned and ballots returned with incomplete identification envelopes that the voter may correct in the seven days following the election. If postmarked by August 6 and received by August 17, these ballots are eligible to be considered for counting as part of the official canvass.

Who certifies the final results?
Each county board of elections will certify the official results for their county. Once that has been done, counties that are part of the 12th Congressional District will send their official results to the district’s most populous county’s board of elections, which is Franklin County, who will then certify the official results.

When will we know if a recount is required?
Once all ballots have been counted and the official results have been certified, if the margin of victory is equal to or less than one-half of one percent (.5 percent), an automatic recount will be triggered under Ohio law. In a multi-county district race, like the 12th Congressional District, the law requires the Secretary of State to order the recount.

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