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Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law @ Moritz

Free & Fair

Ohio: Wednesday Morning, 3:00am

A recount in an Ohio congressional or statewide race remains conceivable but perhaps less likely than it appeared heading into Election Day. Based on unofficial returns posted on the websites for the Secretary of State and the Franklin County Board of Elections, it appears that in the election for Ohio’s 15th congressional district the incumbent Republican Deborah Pryce has a lead of 11,261 votes over challenger Mary Jo Kilroy, with 100% of precincts having reported. But, according to the Columbus Dispatch, there still remain approximately 20,000 absentee ballots to be counted, as well as an “unknown” number of provisional ballots. Although these numbers make an automatic recount unlikely (which requires that the margin of victory in a district race to be within one-half of one percent), a losing candidate is entitled to pursue an optional recount at the candidate's expense. Likewise, in the statewide race for Auditor, unofficial returns at the Secretary of State’s website show the Republican candidate leading by 78,131, or 2.24%, with 96.44% of precincts reporting. The Secretary of State also reports a statewide total of 86,330 absentee or provisional ballots that remained to be counted, but significantly those totals do not yet include figures from several of the state’s most populous counties, including Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Hamilton. The margin of victory necessary to trigger an automatic recount in a statewide race is even narrower than in a district race (one-fourth of one percent, rather than one-half of one percent), but again a requested recount remains an option for a candidate willing to pay for one. Moreover, in Ohio a losing candidate for a state office, but not a federal office, may pursue a judicial contest of the election.

Edward B. Foley is Director of the Election Law @ Moritz program. His primary area of current research concerns the resolution of disputed elections. Having published several law journal articles on this topic, he is currently writing a book on the history of disputed elections in the United States. He is also serving as Reporter for the American Law Institute's new Election Law project. Professor Foley's "Free & Fair" is a collection of his writings that he has penned for Election Law @ Moritz. View Complete Profile


Edward B. Foley

Of Bouncing Balls and a Big Blue Shift

Edward B. Foley

It is a fortuitous coincidence that the University of Virginia’s Journal of Law & Politics has just published a piece of mine that shows the relevance of the current vote-counting process in Virginia’s Attorney General election to what might happen if the 2016 presidential election turns on a similar vote-counting process in Virginia. 

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In the News

Daniel P. Tokaji

Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.

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Info & Analysis

Daniel P. Tokaji

Tokaji Testimony for Senate DISCLOSE Hearing

Professor Tokaji has submitted the following writing testimony for today's hearing before the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee on the proposed DISCLOSE Act.


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