12th Congressional District special election too close to call; What's next?

Published:
Updated:

Ohio's hotly contested race for the 12th Congressional District is still too close to call. Voting in Ohio's Special Election ended Tuesday, but the vote counting will continue.

More than 200,000 people voted in Tuesday's election. After factoring new vote totals from Franklin County, just 1,564 votes separate Troy Balderson and Danny O'Connor. That's less than one percentage point.

It was enough of a margin for Balderson to claim victory Tuesday, and again Wednesday when 10TV sat down with him.

Advertisement - Story continues below

"I'm very confident that we have won," Balderson said. When asked if Danny O'Connor should concede, he said, "I have the most votes. So to me, yes."

O'Connor sees it differently.

"Just because it's too close to call and I don't want to dishonor the people who voted," he explained.

Now all eyes are on the nearly 8500 ballots yet to be counted.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State, whose office oversees elections in the state, there are 5,048 outstanding absentee ballots. That includes ballots cast by mail that have not yet been received by the county boards of election.

Those have to be postmarked by August 6 and received by August 17 to be counted. The Secretary of State says there are 3,435 provisional ballots.

Those are ballots cast by voters whose identity and/or eligibility could not be verified. Provisional voters have to provide proof of their identity by Aug. 14th for their ballots to be considered for counting.

10TV asked both candidates about the potential impact of those still uncounted ballots.

"I just don't think they will. There's reasons that those provisional are out there, and there are different scenarios," Balderson said. "So going by what my legal team, my team around me has said, I will be declared the winner."

O'Connor believes those votes will help him.

"Yeah, I think so. we're waiting to see what they are. But we want to make sure they're counted. We want to make sure this process gets the integrity that it deserves," he said.

Asked if he's given thought to a concession speech, O'Connor said. "No. No. I have not. Because we gotta keep going anyway. It's only halftime, we've got a tie ballgame. And we've got to finish out in November."

Under Ohio law, the counting of those nearly 8500 absentee and provisional ballots doesn't start until August 18.

It has to be finished by Aug. 24, and once those results are certified, if the candidates are within a half of a percent of each other, that triggers an automatic recount.