It's not impossible that Ohio’s provisional election ballots could turn this year’s presidential race into Round 2 of the “hanging chad” battle from 2000.
A hanging chad is a small piece of paper designed to be punched from a ballot, but still remaining attached, or hanging, from not being punched through cleanly. In 2000, close voting numbers from Florida called for a recount of ballots by hand due to “hanging chads” on the ballots.
This year, cleveland.com reports that provisional ballots go to voters in Ohio whose eligibility is in question due to issues such as an address change. Provisional ballot voters fill out a form with their name, signature, and an acceptable form of identification like a driver’s license number or bank statement.
If they don’t have identification, the voter receives 10 days after the election to show proper ID to the county election board to allow their vote to count.
Ohio’s provisional ballots will really matter if the gap between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is smaller than the number of provisional ballots cast at the conclusion of Tuesday’s voting. Ohio voters cast more than 200,000 provisional ballots in 2008’s election, and about 40,000 of them were rejected.
According to CNN, the 10-day delay in counting provisional ballots occurs because officials in Ohio want to be sure that people who vote early by mail do not try to vote again on Election Day. Ohio is worth 18 electoral votes.
Texas Governor George W. Bush defeated Vice President Al Gore in the final tally from 2000. But according to wisegeek.com, early exit polls in Florida showed that Gore had won, and that result was reported on a number of television stations. After more votes were counted, that announcement was changed to “too close to call.”
The 2000 election was certified on November 26, but the Supreme Court turned away challenges and made Bush’s election official on December 12, according to georgialogcabin.org
The rest is history.