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Thursday, November 01, 2012

In Ohio, early returns will reflect absentee vote.

Columbus Dispatch:

Workers have started the long process of opening the thousands of absentee ballots that have flowed in for this month’s election.

Franklin County Board of Elections employees, some of them seasonal, are allowed to start opening the absentee ballots 10 days before Election Day. The envelopes containing the ballots are opened facedown so that workers don’t know the name of the voter. The ballots then must be fed into optical scanners that read the darkened ovals next to candidates’ names and other ballot items.

“We’ll keep doing that until Election Day, and when the polls close at 7:30, we’ll then total,” said Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the board of elections.

“We won’t have a total until then. They are the first votes you see reported on election night."

Looking at the early returns may not give an iron-clad picture of who the winner in that state will be, but it will give a very clear indication of who had the better ground game in getting early voters out. According to Reuters, "The Ohio Secretary of State's office said that as of Oct. 26, about 1.26 million voters had cast ballots by mail-in absentee ballots or through early in-person voting. That represents about 22 percent of the number of people who voted in the 2008 presidential election."

That's nearly one quarter of all ballots. If there's a decisive edge there, it could make all the difference later on in the night.

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