Record Ballot Count Trails Last Year's Returns

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Statewide, the rule is that your mail-in ballot must be postmarked by May 3rd - sooner if you're sending it from out of town and want to be sure it's counted on election night.

In Cuyahoga County, Board of Elections Director Jane Platten says just 49% of 191 thousand mail-in ballots distributed have been returned.

With more people using the mail-in option than past years, Platten expects a rush of returns by May 4th.

"The trend is there over the last three years, where about 90% of voters who ask for a ballot, send it back."

The May 2009 primary was the first time mail-in ballots eclipsed election day voters in Cuyahoga County - and more than three times as many ballots were requested this year, nearly 20 per cent of the 985 registered voters.

The real worry is that people who don't mail back ballots could turn up at polling places Tuesday. Once you ask for a mail-in ballot, you can only vote provisionally at the polls, and those votes are counted later. Platten says a large number of provisional votes in any particular race could force a long delay in tallying the results.

"The higher number of provisional ballots that I have, the propensity there is in a very close race that results could change somewhat. It could even change the outcome of a race."

There is one more option for those who miss the May 3rd postmark deadline: you can drop your mail-in ballot off at your County Board of Elections Headquarters on election day, before the polls close.

Rick Jackson, 90.3.

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