The Lucas County Board of Elections yesterday finished counting ballots cast in this month's election and is on pace to meet the state's deadline of Dec. 1 to complete an official count of votes.
Paula Hicks-Hudson, elections board director, said she isn't expecting any surprises when the final tallies are announced next week. Yesterday afternoon, she said the board was being "overly cautious" and rechecking information to be "doubly sure" there were no errors.
"We are not finished until the board certifies," she said. "We want to be so sure that we have done everything correctly."
The board expects to certify the results on Monday, finishing ahead of the state's deadline.
More than 216,000 Lucas County voters participated in the Nov. 2 General Election. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry received about 129,000 votes and President Bush took about 85,000 votes, according to numbers released by the county soon after the election.
Elections officials began counting provisional ballots on Nov. 13 - 11 days after the election, as required by state law. On election day, more than 6,400 provisional ballots were cast in Lucas County, but less than half were validated.
Last week, the board forwarded names of nearly three dozen voters involved with election irregularities to the county prosecutor's office. Some voters who were allowed to cast ballots even though they weren't registered could face criminal charges.
James Lee, a spokesman for Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, said post-election voting has been a "smooth process." Before the election, Ohio was under scrutiny because of legal challenges to voter registrations and provisional balloting rules.
"In spite of the international scrutiny and the placing of Ohio under a microscope of journalists, attorneys, and bloggers, our boards of elections officials have been doing this work for generations," Mr. Lee said. "They are professionals. They receive training several times a year on procedures, so they are pretty experienced at administering an election."
Still, elections officials reported that the large voter turnout and leased optical scan voting machines posed new challenges during this election cycle.
In Gahanna, Ohio, a voting machine error gave President Bush an extra 3,893 votes.
About 2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice in Sandusky County.
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