Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed The Ohio Star Managing Editor Jack Windsor to the newsmakers line to weigh in on how Ohio will vote come election day November 3 and the results of mail-in voting.
Leahy: We’re joined now by our good friend managing editor of The Ohio Star. The guy I called lightning in a bottle, Jack Windsor. Good morning Jack.
Windsor: Good morning, Mike. Thank you.
Leahy: We’ve got to get a sound effect for Jack, you know,
Carmichael: Little thunder.
Leahy: Little lightning in a bottle of a man The New York Times sends an investigative journalist to try to dig up dirt on in Ohio. The man Mike DeWine runs away from or just can’t stand when the guy asks questions. Jack, you have really been on a roll of late. And now the big news. Let’s focus a little bit on this big issue. We’ve got a presidential election coming up in 27 days. Ohio is a key battleground state, you know, you’ve been seeing all these polls. I’m looking right now at the Real Clear Politics average of polls and the president needs Ohio. Got to win Ohio to win the presidency.
Carmichael: I have a quick question for you. What are the rules in regard to mail out ballots? In Ohio, in order to submit a ballot by mail do you have to go through the absentee ballot request process?
Windsor: Yes. So it’s a great question. And the rules have changed quite a bit in the past few weeks Crom. What the state does is send out an absentee application to all registered voters. So folks started receiving those applications in September. Now, that process they can then send their absentee ballots back in or they can drop them by the Board of Elections dropbox essentially. And as long as those absentee ballots are postmarked by you November 2, they can be in receipt of those up to 10 days after the election. That’s the part that might get a little bit hairy. We heard that we have 2 million absentee ballots that have been requested in the state of Ohio.
Carmichael: Now, let me stop you and ask you a question. When you said that that the state mails out an absentee ballot request form and then voters then receive those and then they turn around and they can send that back in to receive a ballot in the mail. And so the state then checks their signature. Do they go through a process to authenticate the legitimacy of that request?
Windsor: They do. They go through a process of validating the signature and any ID request before they send that ballot back out. And then of course when it comes back in the door. Now the secretary of state has gone to great lengths to say hey, this is a safe process. We’ve done it. We’ve done it a lot. But I think the issue in this election is sheer volume. We’re going to more than double any amount that we’ve received in the past during an election cycle. So it’s going to be of a lot of ballots to count.
Carmichael: Now in other states. there are stories of people going around and I think it’s in Minnesota, in particular, there are stories where people going around paying people for their ballot saying that will if will pay if you’ll vote essentially in Minnesota, they’re saying if you’ll vote for Biden, I’ll give you $200. You go ahead and cast your vote then hand me your ballot and I’ll turn it in for you. What’s his name? Project Veritas
Leahy: Oh, yeah, James O’Keefe.
Carmichael: James O’Keefe is the one who had that on video where the guy was saying yeah, I pay people $200 for the ballot if they’ll check if they’ll sign it for Joe Biden and sign it and give it to me. Is that happening in Ohio at all to your knowledge?
Windsor: It is not. I pray that it doesn’t. But look they’re going to nefarious people that take advantage of any loophole, right? And I think that’s what makes a lot of people nervous when you have over 2 million ballots that are outstanding that are going to come back in the door. I mean, that’s a pretty big statistical sample. Nowadays people are messing around.
Carmichael: Does the current state law not what the not with the authorities are claiming like for example in Wisconsin. The current state law says that for a ballot to be valid it must be received before the polls close on election day. If it’s received after election day, the state law says it’s invalid. And some authorities in Wisconsin are trying to change the law without going through the legislative process. What is the law in Ohio right now? The law on the books in terms of the validity and of a ballot in terms of election day? Does it does the law say it has to be received by close of the polls on election day?
Windsor: That is not my interpretation. And that’s where there’s been some I guess some scrumming a little bit where the secretary of state has come out and said look, as long as it is postmarked by this date we can have it up to 10 days after. So my indication is that that cutoff is going to be 10 days after the election with a valid post-mark that says, you know November second.
Leahy: It sounds to me Jack like a formula for trouble.
Carmichael: Now November 2 is the day before the election. So you’re saying if it’s postmarked the election day, it won’t count?
Windsor: That’s what I read. Yes.
Leahy: Yeah, that is very interesting Jack. So let’s go back to the polls here for a second.
Carmichael: Can I ask one more question one more sure more question? When that ballot is received is there something that the ballot in order to request the ballot before? How does the state know that the ballot that has come back in came from a valid voter?
Windsor: Yeah, so they’re going to be apparently two layers thereof identity control. when that comes back in then they’re going to be able to check that off contingent upon whatever it is that that voter sends back in and so the other issue is I think some of those ballots if they don’t follow the letter of how they’re supposed to do it will get rejected. If they don’t include, you know, some sort of ID verification. or piece of information that’s requested that matches up with what’s on the books at the polling location or at you know Board of Elections. Then those ballots could be rejected.
Leahy: Okay, Jack. What do you think? What’s your guess as to the likelihood that Democrats in Ohio will be able to away with a vote by mail fraud this time around?
Windsor: You know (Sighs) like to think that it’s not going to happen. You know, Ohio has traditionally had a pretty tight process. But what concerns me and I’m going to try to get this around the barn quickly. what concerns me as we look back on when we had our primary and that was postponed. We know that about 21,000 voters didn’t get a chance to vote because the process got muffed and got fumbled.
And so that concerns me a little bit because of the large number of absentee ballots. do I think it’s going to happen? Yeah, I do. I think that people are going to try to mess with the process. And it might be easier in some of these, you know smaller communities and smaller counties potentially versus, you know, Cleveland, Columbus, or Cincinnati. I think there would be more scrutiny there. but we’ll see.
Leahy: I’m going to ask you to put your prognosticator cap on just for a moment. So 2016 Donald Trump won Ohio’s 18 Electoral College votes by nine points. 52 percent to 43 percent. The polls have shown Biden leading until just recently a Trafalgar Group poll had released yesterday shows and they’re great pollsters, by the way, shows Trump up by four in Ohio. Let me ask you this in two forms. First, what are the numbers going to look like in Ohio on Election night, November 3? And then when will we finally know the results in Ohio? And what will those results be? What’s your guess at this moment?
Windsor: My guess is the numbers are going to be massive in favor of Trump on election night in Ohio. And I think that that number will get whittled away over the course of you know, 10 to 12 days. I think we will know really know by the middle of November. They’ll call it by maybe 12th 13th 14th in that time frame. I think we’ll know I believe Trump wins, Ohio by double digits.
Leahy: Oh really? That is interesting Jack very interesting.
Carmichael: I’m curious. Why do you think that the vote will be that Trump’s lead will be whittled away? Are you saying the Democrats will vote by mail later than Republicans?
Windsor: I think that they will vote by mail and I think that you know, they’ll count recount, you know, make sure they have the numbers right? I expected a lot of those mail-in ballots will be from for Joe Biden.
Leahy: Yeah, that’s no big surprise here.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.