Swing State Highlights: Ohio's Provisional Ballots; Sandy's Impact On Voting

KHN's Sarah Barr samples campaign news coverage each week from swing states to see how health policy developments, and other political issues, are playing.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: Provisional Ballots Could Keep Ohio's Presidential Outcome In Doubt For Days After Election
As the presidential race narrows in Ohio, the Buckeye State runs the risk of preventing the United States from calling a winner for days after the Nov. 6 election. A wild card in declaring a winner on Election Night could be thousands provisional ballots. Provisionals are given to voters when their eligibility is in question, often because of address changes or discrepancies. Election boards hold the ballots 10 days to determine eligibility (Spector, 10/30). 

Also in the news, last-minute ad buys in Pennsylvania -

Philadelphia Inquirer: Romney Backers Buying Ads In Pennsylvania
Two Republican super PACs are making a late play to try to crack Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, spending a combined $3.2 million to air TV commercials across the state in support of Mitt Romney. Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC run by former aides to the Republican nominee, is spending $2.1 million over the campaign's final week to attack President Obama in the state, including $1 million devoted to the expensive Philadelphia media market. That's on top of $1.1 million in airtime purchased by Americans for Job Security (Fitzgerald and Warden, 10/30).

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Obama, Romney Have Bypassed Pennsylvania In Advertising War -- Until Now
"We are going to win Pennsylvania, but we're not taking anything for granted, which is what good campaigns do," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a conference call with reporters.
Pennsylvania has not been the key presidential battleground it has been in years past, which is partially reflected in the lack of network television advertising: Through last week, the Obama and Romney campaigns spent $100 million in Ohio compared with just $5 million next door in Pennsylvania (McNulty, 10/30).

Meanwhile, various newspapers also offered local coverage of how Mega-Storm Sandy is affecting early voting and campaign appearances in key states -

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Corbett Extends Deadline For Absentee Ballots In Some Counties
Monday's closures of county courthouses across the state has led Gov. Tom Corbett to allow some counties to extend today's deadline for applying for an absentee ballot. ... The governor announced Monday night that counties could extend that deadline by one day for each day their courthouse is closed this week as a result of storm damage (Olson, 10/30).

The Tampa Bay Times: Superstorm Sandy Upends Presidential Campaign
Superstorm Sandy forced the presidential race into a unpredictable spin Monday as rain and high winds pummeled the East Coast, causing both campaigns to cancel events with a week left in a battle that remains bitterly close. President Barack Obama skipped a rally with Bill Clinton in Orlando on Monday and an event in Wisconsin today ... The campaign has been intensely close for weeks, each side feeling bursts of momentum only to be dragged back into a dead heat, and the storm injected a powerful sense of unease and limbo (Leary, 10/30). 

The Cincinnati Enquirer: Buckeye Political Strategies Set Askew
The storm’s power outages could linger until Election Day in some parts on the East Coast. The campaign suspension holds risks for both men, experts say. ... It was unclear late Monday whether Obama would still make a planned Cincinnati campaign stop Wednesday. Vice President Joe Biden canceled campaign appearances through Thursday. ...“If the storm has half the impact that’s predicted, its hurts both candidates,” said Hiram College political science professor Jason Johnson. Obama benefits from the national spotlight on his leadership role, but curtailed early voting could help Romney win the battleground state of Virginia, he said (Coolidge, 10/30).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.