CNN may have already called Ohio's governor's race, but poll watchers here can now expect a later night for other races. Responding to a Democratic Party request, a judge in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, has ruled that 16 locations here must stay open until 9 p.m. EST because some 43 locations opened late.
If you were about to lose by maybe a 2-to-1 margin for governor, you too would probably like to keep the results secret as long as you can. That's what Ken Blackwell did tonight in his last major act as Ohio's secretary of state. On the official Ohio vote-counting site with Blackwell's name in big orange letters at the top of the page there is this official announcement: "The United States District Court has issued an order requiring the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to extend the hours of voting to 9 p.m. E.S.T. at polling places designated in the court order. As a result of the court's order, ALL 88 county Boards of Elections have been directed not to report any election results to the public or the Ohio Secretary of State's office until 9 p.m.; therefore, the Ohio Secretary of State's office Web site will not report results until 9 p.m."
Too bad Blackwell cannot delay the inevitable beyond 9 p.m.
Further update: A panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has now modified the original ruling; based on the Help America Vote Act, all ballots cast past the original closing time must now be counted as provisional ballots.