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How Did Franklin County Miss 600 Ballots On Election Night?

voting booths
John Minchillo
Associated Press

Franklin County election officials notified the public on Wednesday that they missed almost 600 ballots in the unofficial tally for Tuesday’s special election. But they'll be included in the official canvass later this month.

The Franklin County Board of Elections audited its results Wednesday and found about half the votes from one polling location were not included in the election night results. Spokesperson Aaron Sellers says they missed one of the machines used to collect the votes—known as a personal electronic ballot, or PEB.

“Specifically at that location, there were 16 machines, there were two master PEBs,” Sellers says. “One of them was read and that one had 743 votes. The second one was not read, and that was the one that had the 588.”

With those ballots taken into account, Democrat Danny O’Connor narrows Republican Troy Balderson’s margin of victory by 190 votes - Balderson leads by just over 1,500 votes. Because of the delay, those figures aren’t reflected in the counts on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, although they have been added to the Associated Press tally.

Sellers stresses the Tuesday night results were unofficial.

"But rest assured, when they’re certified on the 24th, these will be added into the numbers along with any provisional votes that were counted as well as any absentee ballots that were received," he says.

State law requires county boards wait 11 days to count absentee and provisional ballots. More absentee ballots could still come in, so long as they’re postmarked the day prior to the election.

The tally doesn’t get finalized until the official canvass, which gets certified August 24. 

As of Thursday, Balderson now leads with 101,772 votes. O'Connor is less than 0.8 percent behind, with 100,208 votes, and Green Party candidate Joe Manchik has 1,129 votes.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.