Today begins the official count of ballots cast in Lucas County on Election Day. This after a prescribed 10-day “cooling off period” under state law, a provision for which there is no clear, sensible purpose in today's world.
This year, the only race that will win widespread attention during the fresh tallying is Issue 2, the Toledo Public Schools measure that would raise $186 million locally for the reconstruction of most of the district's schools.
The unofficial Election Day count shows the issue is passing by a mere 906 votes out of nearly 60,000 cast, not close enough to fall within the margin of one-half of 1 percent that would trigger an automatic recount. But it could soon qualify. Consider:
This election was fraught with troubles in the county's voting machines, largely because of the write-in candidacy of judicial candidate Tim Kuhlman, where it was clear mechanical mistakes occurred. Maybe some will be found that change the Issue 2 totals.
Elections workers have not even begun to tally provisional ballots - those votes cast by people who arrived at the polls and, for one of any number of reasons, could not cast a normal vote using the county's dilapidated mechanical voting machines. There are 1,561 of those ballots, most of which are from within the school district boundaries.
Like those who cast absentee ballots, those people who voted using provisional ballots must have been very motivated to have put up with the extreme hassle. Issue 2 was an emotionally charged measure, so it is within reason to assume those who voted using provisional ballots had strong feelings. Usually, opponents to such measures are more motivated than those who support.
Unofficial election results show the school tax measure was in deep trouble among those who cast absentee ballots, losing by a 62.4 percent to 37.6 percent margin - a total of 1,467 votes.
Some light math reveals that, if there are 1,210 ballots cast from within the district, the opponents would need to win three out of every four votes to kill the school measure. If they win the same percentage as they did among absentees, they would need to have 1,453 provisional votes to have been cast from within the district. That would yield them 907 votes, enough to catch up and win by one.
All that opponents have to do is get within 284 votes to trigger a recount, which will open up all the voting machines in the school district. Then, anything could happen.
Assuming there are a total of 1,200 provisional votes that were cast within the school district, the opponents would need just 53 percent of those votes to trigger the recount.
So this one is still too close to call.
He joins an impressive list of others, including Betty Montgomery of Wood County, the outgoing attorney general who just won the race for state auditor; James Petro, the outgoing auditor who just won the race for state attorney general; Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, state Treasurer Joe Deters; and U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine.
And that's just the Republicans.
Once the Ohio Democratic Party rebuilds the fund-raising machinery that served it so well in the 1980s, it may be able to attract good candidates into the race. People like U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur.
Ms. Kaptur routinely complains that it costs too much money to run a statewide race in Ohio, so it seems likely she will not begin such a campaign unless someone else agrees to raise it for her. On the heels of its fourth straight gubernatorial defeat, Ohio Dems can't afford not to start raising money - now - for the next round of statewide elections.
The biggest factor in the selection of a replacement is electability. Whoever wins appointment will have to run next year to hold on to the seat, and the GOP knows the Democrats would love to win it back after having left it to Ms. Thurber for nearly a decade.