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Hamilton County's Provisional Ballots Could Decide Several Suburban Mayoral Races

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Hamilton County's final count in the November5 election began Tuesday, and the results could have a major impact on some suburban races that were very close in the unofficial count on election night.

Tuesday, the board of elections approved counting 11,797 provisional ballots that were cast on election day.

The board ended up rejecting 1,028 – 666 of them because the people who cast them were not registered voters.

Another 273 were rejected because they were cast by voters in the wrong precinct or polling location. It is possible that some of those people were among those who did not receive notices from the board of election telling them polling locations had changed.

Those nearly 11,800 could have an impact on some suburban races that were extremely close in the initial count on election night.

The provisional ballots, along with late arriving absentee ballots, could decide the mayor's race in Norwood, where Republican Ken Crawford led Democratic incumbent Thomas Williams by 18 votes on election night out of nearly 4,000 votes cast.

In Glendale, Don Lofty had a two-vote lead over Jenny Kilgore in a race where 1,026 voted were counted on election night. In St. Bernard, JohnEstepheld a six-vote advantage over BillBurkhardtin a race where over 1,300 votes were cast.

Elections director Sherry Poland says she's not certain how many provisional ballots were cast in those communities, but said it would not take many to change the election night outcome.

Hamilton County had an unusually high number of provisional ballots cast this year because of problems with the new e-polling system. The board of elections must certify the final count by next Tuesday and send them on to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.  

If recounts are necessary after the official count, they will be scheduled at next Tuesday's board meeting. 

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