Franklin County was exempt from the statewide Nov. 25 deadline to certify election results as officials awaited the outcome of an appeal of last week's court decision that approximately 1,000 provisional ballots must be counted.

Franklin County was exempt from the statewide Nov. 25 deadline to certify election results as officials awaited the outcome of an appeal of last week's court decision that approximately 1,000 provisional ballots must be counted.

The delay leaves in question the winner of the race for the 15th congressional district, and two Ohio House races.

As of Nov. 24, Republican Steve Stivers led Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by 479 votes in the congressional race, and the races for the Ohio House's 19th and 20th districts were too close to call without the results of the county's more than 27,000 provisional ballots.

Those ballots cannot be counted before the appeals court issues a ruling, which was expected to happen by Thursday.

In question in the case are approximately 1,000 provisional ballots that did not include both the signatures and printed names of voters on the ballot envelopes.

Franklin County voters Dana Skaggs and Kyle Fannin filed a complaint Nov. 13 against Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner on behalf of Stivers' campaign, requesting that those ballots not be counted.

U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley ruled last week that the missing signatures were the result of poll worker error and should be counted. The lawyer representing the voters immediately appealed.

Terry Casey, who is involved with the case through Stivers' campaign, said if the provisional ballots in question were counted, it would mean that different guidelines were used in Franklin County than in Madison and Union counties, the other counties comprising the 15th congressional district.

"We want to make sure the same rules and interpretation of laws were being enforced in all three counties," Casey said. "We want to make sure it's an even playing field."

Spokesmen for Brunner said the ruling demonstrates why it's important for all county boards of elections to follow state guidelines issued before Election Day.

"That points out even more why it's important for all counties to follow the directives and guidelines that the secretary of state's office issues before the election," said spokesman Kevin Kidder. "That could have headed off this problem."

As a result of the appeal, the case will be heard before three judges in the federal court's sixth district.

Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli said the office plans to open provisional ballots Friday, if the appeals court ruling is handed down by Thursday as expected. That would give the board of elections staff the weekend to count the provisional ballots in time for the board to certify the election results Dec. 1.

"If we get that court ruling, things will move very quickly," Piscitelli said.

Once the results are certified, Piscitelli said the board will know if automatic recounts are needed. A recount is required if a race is within one-half of 1 percent.

If a recount is necessary, under the anticipated timeline, it would start Dec. 6 and be completed by Dec. 12, Piscitelli said.