COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s state elections chief certified the results of the November general election on Friday, awarding the state’s 18 electoral votes to President Donald Trump.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose said the state produced an extraordinary level of access for voters, setting records with nearly 6 million votes cast and a 74% turnout that tops the average of the past 20 years.
Ohio slashed the percentage of absentee mail-in ballots disqualified for voter error to less than half a percent this year — and it did so despite a surge in first-time voters, LaRose said. Another record was made with 94% of the absentee ballots requested being returned, he said.
“Again, whether your favorite candidates won or lost, Ohioans can trust that this result was accurate and honest,” he said. “That’s our mission. That’s what we do here at the Secretary of State’s Office and that’s what we do in 88 county boards of elections.”
LaRose certified the presidential results in an event broadcast on government TV and streamed live on Facebook. He pushed back at Trump’s refusal to concede the election and to inaccurately claim its results are riddled with fraud — though without mentioning the president by name.
“Abraham Lincoln said the election belongs to the people. It was true then, and it’s just as true now,” he said.
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden fell short of Trump in the state by about 8 percentage points, giving Trump a slightly smaller margin of victory in the state than he won four years ago.
After originally writing Ohio off, the former vice president made an 11th-hour campaign push into the state that Democrats have conceded was too little, too late.