On CBS News Monday morning, Governor John Kasich (R-OH) was asked about Ohio’s impending provisional ballot mess, which could delay election results. By state law, Ohio’s provisional ballots cannot be counted until November 17 — and this year, officials will likely be sifting through thousands of these ballots. Kasich admitted that his own administration’s new policies could lead to “numerous” provisional ballots that could decide the election:
HOST: Are you concerned this may come down to counting provisional ballots in Ohio?
KASICH: It’s possible. Because a lot of people got ballots to vote early and if you don’t turn those in, you know, and then you show up to vote, then you become a provisional ballot operator. And so it is possible, if it’s very very close, that we won’t know the results of this for a while. But again, I’m just not a fortune teller. I can’t predict that. The provisional ballots could be numerous, we’ll see.
Kasich is referring to an initiative undertaken by his Secretary of State, Jon Husted (R), who sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. Voters who filled out the application but later decided to vote at the polls will be forced to vote provisional so officials can verify they did not vote twice. As 350,000 absentee ballots in Ohio have not yet been returned, the number of provisional ballots cast Tuesday could be significant, as Kasich explained.
Kasich’s cautious statement is in stark contrast with Husted’s insistence that the state will have enough ballots to call the election on Tuesday. Husted also issued a last-minute directive on Friday increasing the likelihood that these ballots will be thrown out.