After Another Successful Primary Election, What Happens Next?
With all 8,951 precincts having reported on the May 3 Primary Election, the unofficial results of the election can be found at liveresults.ohiosos.gov. Unofficial results for congressional races are available on a county-by-county basis through the websites of the boards of elections within each of the congressional districts. Those websites can be found by visiting VoteOhio.gov/Boards, and a list of Ohio’s congressional districts and the counties they include.
It should be noted, however, that what was reported on May 3 election night is still considered unofficial, and in accordance with a Secretary directive, the county boards have 24 days after the primary to complete the official canvass. Tuesday's unofficial results include the total of all the votes tabulated from early in-person voting, absentee ballots received on or before Election Day, and votes cast on Election Day--but it should be known that the vote count is not yet complete.
Why are current vote totals unofficial and what is left to tabulate?
Outstanding votes fall into three categories:
- Outstanding absentee ballots
- Outstanding military and overseas ballots
- Provisional ballots
Absentee ballots must have been properly postmarked before May 2 and have arrived at the boards of elections on or before May 13 to be counted in the final results.
Military and overseas ballots (UOCAVA ballots) have until May 23 to arrive at the county boards of elections.
Provisional ballots -- an alternative form of a ballot cast on Election Day if a question arose over a voter's eligibility -- are also reviewed after the election by bipartisan elections officials to determine if the vote was legally cast. If the vote is determined to be valid, it is counted in the final total as well.
As of the end of election night on May 3, there were 21,909 outstanding absentee ballots and 13,675 remaining provisional ballots statewide, meaning the total number of votes cast in the 2022 primary could grow by as much as 35,584.
Boards of elections have until May 27 to finalize the official canvass and submit their results to the Secretary of State. Once that occurs, the Secretary's elections team will verify the county results to confirm the final canvass, thereby making the results official. A comprehensive reporting of election data will be made public upon completion of that review.
During this entire process, all ballots are stored -- literally -- under double lock and key, needing both a Democrat and Republican election official with their own separate keys to simultaneously gain access to the ballots. As these ballots are being tabulated, they are done so under the scrutiny and supervision of bipartisan teams of election officials, and the process is always available for the public to observe. Security, accuracy, and transparency are the top priorities throughout these processes.
Shortly after the official canvass, our county boards will begin the process of auditing the election results. In Ohio, every election is audited in every Ohio county, a process by which bipartisan election officials compare the paper ballot results to the electronic tabulation from the voting machines to ensure fidelity between the two vote counts. Typically, Ohio's post-election audits have resulted in an impressive 99.9% accuracy rate, validating the time-tested security procedures provided for under Ohio election law and the remarkable work performed by our bipartisan teams of elections officials. Most importantly, Ohio's verifiably accurate election results buttress the confidence Ohio voters rightly place in our election system.
The Shady Practice of Ballot Harvesting
Recently, the practice known as ballot harvesting has become elevated in the nation's consciousnesses. Ballot harvesting involves partisans, operatives and interest groups collecting completed absentee ballots on a mass scale and, in theory, delivering them to a board of elections. Typically, ballot harvesters target retirement homes, nursing facilities, apartment complexes, and other conjugate living settings, offering their services as a convenience to voters, when in fact, it is a practice ripe for fraud and criminal activity.
Ballot harvesting is a serious threat to election security and is a crime in Ohio. Election integrity in Ohio is built upon the bipartisan collaboration among our election officials -- Democrats and Republicans working together and monitoring one another throughout every stage of the election process, including the handling of ballots, the accuracy testing of our election equipment, and the counting of votes.
Ballot harvesting wholly undermines the trust-but-verify cooperative nature of election administration in Ohio by removing bipartisanship from the chain of custody of our ballots. Ballot harvesters are partisans with skin in the election game -- they typically target communities concentrated with voters of the opposite party, promising to deliver their ballots to their board, and then throwing them out.
While Ohio has long made ballot harvesting illegal and put protocols in place to keep the vote secure, other states allow for it, and instances of voter fraud and tampering are commonly reported. More alarming, the U.S. House and Senate have recently attempted on multiple occasions to legalize ballot harvesting in all 50 states. Ohio led the charge against these legislative efforts, and thanks to two courageous Senate Democrats who joined Republicans, it didn’t happen.
Ohio's commitment to election security and accessibility takes a back seat to no other state in the nation, and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose will continue to aggressively beat back partisan efforts to undermine fair elections and defraud the voters. Ohio cannot and will not stand by and let anyone attempt to abuse our state's longstanding tradition of election integrity.
Ohioans have a right to secure, accessible, and accurate elections that they can trust, and Secretary LaRose encourages every state to follow Ohio's example by banning ballot harvesting.
Secretary LaRose Responds to the Ohio Supreme Court's Latest Order over Redistricting
On Thursday, in a filing with the Ohio Supreme Court, Secretary LaRose formally rejected contempt of court accusations. He reinforced the statutory timeline for election administration and reminded the special interest redistricting activists and litigants of their prior agreement to a critical April 20 deadline for adopting a new General Assembly district plan.
“The political activists causing this chaos are hoping Ohioans don’t notice their hypocrisy,” said LaRose. “They know the law is clear on this issue, and they’ve said as much in one court, while running to the other to cry contempt. They’re making a mockery of our judicial system to score some cheap political points. If they’re looking for contemptible behavior, they should find a mirror.”
On Tuesday, Secretary LaRose convened After-Action Review (AAR) meetings with his office's senior staff to analyze the May 3 primary. AAR's have become an institutionalized protocol in the Secretary's administration to be performed after every election. AARs are an important, deep-dive self-evaluation for an organization, and they are modeled after the AARs Secretary LaRose has participated in during his continuing service in the U.S. Army. These introspective evaluations provide a forum for candid discussions on what worked well and on areas in which the office can strive to improve in its mission of service to Ohioans.
In Case You Missed It
LaRose visits Lima to discuss Ohio businesses, elections
Secretary Frank LaRose spent a great amount of time in Lima on Friday speaking to Republicans, talking to Mayor Sharetta Smith, and looking at the Makerspace facility. But it was on Elizabeth Street where he enjoyed his Kewpee and Frosty and shared his thoughts.
As Ohio’s chief elections officer, the Secretary of State oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. The Secretary of State supervises the administration of election laws; reviews statewide initiative and referendum petitions; chairs the Ohio Ballot Board, which approves ballot language for statewide issues; canvasses votes for all elective state offices and issues; and investigates election fraud and irregularities.
Although he received support from ex-President Donald Trump, he doesn’t think the election was stolen in Ohio. LaRose believes that Ohio has the correct balance of easy access to voting while maintaining voting security.
“There are always things that can be done. Ohio is in many ways the gold standard, but there’s no such thing as perfect. One of the things we have done is to keep accurate voter rolls. That means doing a better job of removing dead people, which we do a very good job; and making sure only citizens can become registered to vote.”
Secretary LaRose discusses Ohio elections over a Kewpee burger with Lima News reporter Dean Brown at Lima's iconic Kewpee.
On Tuesday, Secretary LaRose joined 55KRC host Brian Thomas to discuss Ohio's May 3 primary. Listen to the interview.