COLUMBUS, Ohio -- If the outcome of next week's presidential election is close, this precariously balanced state could be the place where the two parties begin filing the inevitable lawsuits over voting irregularities, experts say.
The battles could be over the rules for a recount, or how to deal with voters who were not added to the rolls even though they registered properly and on time. Lawyers could fight over how to count the paper ballots used when the electronic machines break down, or whether a judge was correct in deciding to keep certain polls open late.
But the most likely source of litigation is the state's heavy use of provisional ballots, which are issued when a voter's identity or registration cannot immediately be verified or when polls stay open late. Ohio has a history of requiring large numbers of voters to use these ballots, which are easy to disqualify and are not counted until after the election.