Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Saturday, November 11

Cong OH-15: Deadlock Draws National Attention

Today's New York Times looks at the unresolved 15th Congressional District tussle between challenger Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) and Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington). Pryce leads by 3,356 votes and claims she has won, but there are at least 19,500 uncounted ballots and the Kilroy campaign says they will break her way:
“When all is said and done, we will have won,” Ms. Pryce’s campaign manager, John DeStefano, said Friday.

But Ms. Kilroy’s spokeswoman, Amanda Wurst, was not having any of it. “I don’t believe that,” she said, “and I don’t think they believe that.”

The article says that neither side expects much advantage from ballots outside Franklin County or from absentee ballots, so the focus shifts to about 9,500 provisional ballots from Franklin County. Most of those are from students, who tend to vote for Democrats and for whose support Kilroy campaigned hard. Typically, however, up to 30% of provisional ballots are disallowed, usually for voting in the wrong precinct. If that occurs here, and the other ballots are about equal as expected, Kilroy must take more than 75% of the valid provisional ballots to win.

Observers and lawyers from both sides will watch the tally of provisional ballots, set to occur November 18-21. The article says that voters rights groups and the Secretary of State's office were in federal court working out rules for the observation, with an agreement expected by Monday. In 2004, rules imposed by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections forced observers to peer at computer screens through binoculars while provisional ballots were counted.

UPDATE: The Columbus Dispatch today reports that a precinct-by-precinct analysis of the uncounted ballots indicates that Kilroy will gain only about 1,800 votes, assuming that uncounted ballots track the outcome of tallied voting in those precincts. That would only cut Pryce's lead in half. However, this analysis omits a number of factors that will affect the outcome, including the percentage of provisional ballots invalidated, the tendency of provisional ballots to skew Democratic, and errors in previous counting that will be rectified in the final tally.

2nd UPDATE: KTinOhio presents an extensive analysis on MyDD.

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