According to the news reports, there are apparently 200 to 400,000 provisional ballots outstanding in Ohio and none of those have been counted.
The Bush-Kerry margin is currently about 102,000 votes with 92% of precincts counted. Dems claim that the lead will likely be cut to 50,000 by the time all the rest of the regular ballots are counted. I assume they know where the missing precincts are and how those areas usually vote.
In any case, Kerry would have to win 60% of 250,000 provisional ballots to take the state if that information is true. Obviously, this would mean a higher portion of fewer ballots or a lower portion of more.
The Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell, says that provisional ballots won't be counted for 11 days. That's the election law in Ohio. The absentee (military) ballots from abroad are also going to trickle in over the next 10 days too.
During the next 10 days, Ohio will look at the jackets on the provisional ballots to try to reconcile them. In other words, they are going to try to figure out why the people weren't listed on the voting roster. Some are going to turn out to be valid, others are likely going to be tossed.
I'm confident that both Democratic and Republican lawyers will be deeply involved in this process.
Kerry's camp says the candidate is not going to concede until those provisional ballots are resolved, which makes ABSOLUTE SENSE. How can a candidate concede if the number of uncounted ballots significantly exceeds the margin of the lead?
The networks that have called Ohio for Bush already are jumping the gun. How do they know what those provisional ballots say? Where are they? Who cast them? Why are there so many?
Update: 96% of precincts, the lead is closer to 125,000. Not good for Kerry. Where are the last precincts?
Update 2: Ohio had about 100,000 provisional ballots in 2000; 90% of them were good, and were thus counted. The Secretary of State just said on TV (2:15 am ET) that it looks like there might be 175,000 this time. Kerry would have to win 6 out of 7 of them if the current 125,000 lead holds.
That seems unlikely. I wonder how they went in 2000?
Where are the missing precincts? Can the Dems cut the lead in the last few percent of uncounted precincts?
I think I'm going to bed.