OK

Despite bizarre news reports yesterday morning that Republican Steve Stivers had defeated Mary Jo Kilroy for the open OH-15 seat by a margin in excess of 10,000 votes (those press reports have now disappeared into the memory hole), today the Board of Elections unoffical tally lists only a 321-vote deficit for Kilroy.

This morning, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Kilroy's deficit has been whittled to 146 votes after additional paper ballots have been counted.

Yet to be counted are a currently unknown number of provisional ballots as well as last-minute absentee ballots. In the 2006 election, Kilroy picked up over 2,000 votes when the provisional counting was said and done, although she could not overcome a 3,000-vote deficit that time. Here, the hurdle is much smaller and a Democratic pickup in OH-15 looks good, & predictably the Ohio GOP is trying to prevent this outcome by appealing to the courts.

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Consistent with their (so far failing) campaign of sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt into Ohio elections and Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio GOP led by chief clown Dewine has filed a new case on election day itself, trying to throw a monkey wrench into the counting of provisionals:

Ohio Republicans have asked a federal judge in Columbus to require that provisional ballots be verified and counted the same way statewide.

The legal action filed Tuesday by the Ohio GOP updates an earlier Republican lawsuit against Ohio’s top elections official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat.

The GOP says it’s concerned provisional ballots will be handled differently across Ohio. Provisional ballots are those cast by voters whose registration has been questioned. The ballots are held for 10 days while elections workers check voter eligibility before they are counted.

Republicans say Brunner had issued "vague and confusing instructions" on handling provisional ballots and seemed to encourage local officials to overlook non-matching signatures.

Brunner called the GOP legal action partisan and troubling.

To me, it sounds a little like the GOP's "equal protection" argument in 2000. They are clearly worried about these provisional ballots, as they will subtract at least one more seat from their total.

If the recent past is any guide, their suit will be tossed out, and Mary Jo Kilroy will be sworn in next January in Ohio's 15th District, formerly occupied by Republican Deborah Pryce.

Originally posted to jmknapp on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:33 AM PST.

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