Obama wins Centre County after provisional, absentee ballots tallied

President Barack Obama won Centre County in the Nov. 6 election, according to new numbers tallied to include provisional ballots and those submitted absentee by military personnel and civilians located overseas.

The new vote counts show Obama winning by 175 votes over Republican Mitt Romney. Unofficial totals give Obama 34,176 votes and Romney 34,001.

The Department of State shows different totals, and Obama winning by 151 votes, 34,115 to 33,964. Jodi Neidig, of the Centre County Elections Office, said those numbers don’t include all of the additional ballots counted by local workers.

State Department spokesman Matthew Keeler confirmed that it likely doesn’t have the most recent counts, and that the county generally is the most current.

Votes will become official once certified, likely to be complete by the end of the month.

In the initial totals from Election Day, Romney appeared to win by 20 votes.

Neidig said it’s not often that the final ballot counts result in a change in the winner.

“The number of absentees and provisionals we had this time was significantly larger than in the past,” she said, though there’s no indication as to why.

Workers counted 418 absentee ballots from military personnel and civilians overseas and 168 provisional ballots. The latter type was required if a voter did not show up in the poll books for some reason and, in one or two cases, if someone had just come back to town and couldn’t make it to his or her own polling place by 8 p.m.

Neidig said she approved one voter’s ballot at a different polling place for that reason. Most of the provisional ballots came from students who had not completed the registration verification process.

The current totals also include absentee ballots from emergency responders, but those were added to initial election totals and Neidig didn’t have a separate count.

Obama also won Centre County in 2008 by almost 9,000 votes over Ariz. Sen. John McCain.