WASHINGTON – The only ballot tabulation that has drug on longer than the U.S. presidential election is the national pork checkoff referendum.
The referendum ballots are back in the news, as the USDA announced last week that 2,000 ballots that were initially declared invalid will be reviewed again at the county level to determine whether they can be counted as valid ballots.
Farm Service Agency county offices reported that, of the approximately 30,000 ballots cast, more than 2,00 ballots were declared invalid because certain required information was missing. In Ohio, according to FSA Executive Director Steven Maurer, 103 ballots out of the more than 2,000 ballots cast, were initially deemed invalid and will be reviewed.
The missing information, such as a person’s address or the date the form was signed, is needed to identify voters for challenge purposes.
The USDA is directing local FSA offices to review the registration and certification forms for ballots previously determined to be invalid. The USDA expects to announce the results of the vote by the first week of January.
Not all counties had invalid ballots. In Pennsylvania, the following 17 counties will be reviewing ballots: Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Chester, Clearfield, Crawford, Erie, Jefferson, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Northumberland, Somerset and York.
In Ohio, counties that are not reviewing any invalid ballots, or where no votes were cast, include:
Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Clark, Clermont, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Vinton, Warren and Washington.
The public may witness the review. Contact your local FSA office for information.