Folks, we are nowhere near finishing counting the votes in the OH-15 race. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the always nasty 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a lower court ruling that the 1,000 provisional ballots in Franklin County should be counted.
An appeals court ruled today that a federal judge erred in determining that Franklin County’s controversial provisional ballots can be counted.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the issue involves state law — not federal — and sent the case back to the Ohio Supreme Court, where it started. The unanimous ruling was made by Judges Jeffrey S. Sutton, Cornelia G. Kennedy and David W. McKeague.
Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said she would not appeal, but urged justices to “quickly affirm their previous clear guidance ‘to liberally construe election laws in favor of the right to vote,’ so as not to disenfranchise approximately 1,000 Ohio voters with a hypertechnical interpretation of Ohio law.”
The decision puts a continued hold on two races that are still too close to call: the 15th Congressional District, where Republican Steve Stivers leads Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, and the 19th Ohio House District, where Democrat Marian Harris has a 40-vote lead over Republican Brad Lewis.
Stivers’ lead grew to 594 votes today after Madison County finalized its vote count.
The outcome of the congressional race, though, will remain in limbo until legal challenges decide if Franklin County’s 27,000 provisional votes can be counted. It is not known how many of those votes are in the 15th district; roughly 40 percent of the county lies within the district.
The State Supreme Court is giving interested parties until 4pm on Monday to file their arguments. I still think Kilroy is going to win, but I have the following questions.
1. How many of the remaining 27,000 Franklin County ballots are in the district?
2. How many ballots are absentee and how many are provisionals? I hear each term used in different articles.
3. If they are all provisionals, what percentage are likely to get counted?
4. Assuming for a moment that the 1,000 are not counted, what are the odds that Kilroy will overcome the nearly 600 vote lead that Stivers currently has?
It sure is getting messy down there. I hope we have a winner by January!