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LaRose Says Record Number of Ballots Cast, Absentee And Early Votes Counted First

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says a record number of Ohioans are expected to vote by the end of today.  3.4 million have already voted either in-person or by absentee ballot.  

LaRose says the state began work on those absentee ballots almost immediately, which gave voters the chance to "cure" their ballots.
"Thankfully in Ohio, we have been processing absentee ballots since the 6th of October.  Because we started processing ballots...the boards of elections could contact voters that made an error, that forgot their signature.  They could send them the form in the mail that they need to "cure" their ballot, and start that process of working with voters.  And of course, again, all of those ID envelopes have been processed, they've verified the identification information, checked the signature against the signature on file, accepted those ballots - and they'll be ready to process right at 7:30."

LaRose predicts the state will easily surpass the previous record of 5.7 million voters set in 2008.

"You'll see results start pretty early in Ohio as those early and absentee ballots get tallied.  And then around 8:30, 8:45 at night as the precinct locations start to get their ballots down to the board of elections, you'll see those begin processing.  Of course,  the thing that could lead to a delay tonight, is if a board of elections receives a large delivery of mail today.  If the postal truck shows up with tens of thousands of ballots on board, that could lead to a longer night." 

Case in point, LaRose says the Franklin County Board of Elections received 4,000 absnetee ballots in this morning's mail.
Like other election officials, LaRose cautions that final tallies will not be available tonight.  But there will be updates on the secretary of state's website tonight, including a new category.

"What we will have is an accurate number of everything that has been received so far, up unto this date.  Every absentee vote, every early vote, and every in-person Election Day vote will be tabulated and reported tonight as part of our unofficial tabulations.  One of the other things we're going to report is the number of outstanding ballots."

Going into Election Day, LaRose says there were 240,000 outstanding absentee ballots that had yet to be returned.  Ohio has until November 28th to produced certified election results, but officials predict those may be available as early as Novermber 18th.  Unofficials results will be available on the Secretary of State's website.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.
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