Wednesday, November 03, 2004

WHERE WE ARE With 100% of Ohio precincts reporting, Bush leads by 136,483 votes.

According to CNN, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has said that the number of uncounted provisional ballots is "trending toward 175,000." CNN says that counties have been told to report how many provisional ballots they've received by 2pm EST on Wednesday.

Daily Kos cites an (unsourced) e-mail with the following data from 2000: 90% of Ohio provisional ballots were ultimately certified as valid, and 85% of those votes went to Al Gore. Judy Woodruff, if memory serves, cited similar figures just before 2am EST this morning.

There are a number of reasons why those numbers (assuming they're accurate) might not hold up this time around. But if they did, based on a figure of 175,000 provisional ballots, we'd wind up with:

Bush: 2,819,772
Kerry: 2,793,539
That would leave Bush with a net advantage of 26,233 votes.

If the number of provisional ballots reaches 200,000 and the ratios from the last cycle hold up, Bush's lead would be trimmed to about 10,000 votes.

That would trigger an automatic statewide recount.

And that's before we even get to overseas ballots.

In any event, we should have a clearer idea of where things stand at 2pm EST.

Does it look bleak? It looks very very bleak. But it would be irresponsible for Kerry to concede until we know how many more ballots are out there.

UPDATE: CNN says Kerry will concede at 1pm EST. According to Adam Nagourney at The New York Times, the volume of provisional ballots the Kerry camp was counting on just hasn't materialized.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.