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Exit polls give Barack Obama slight lead in Ohio; state remains too close to call

While the all-important state of Ohio remains too close to call at this hour, CNN has released exit polling that shows Barack Obama with a slight lead – 51% to Mitt Romney’s 49%. That may seem like good news, but exit polls don’t always correlate with actual results. Until we get hard data, we won’t able to do much more than speculate about the Buckeye State.

The popular vote may be decided by provisional ballots. The Columbus Dispatch reports:

A larger than usual number of provisional ballots cropping up in some areas of Columbus and Cleveland were being reported today, causing concerns that they could impact a close election.

Many people trying to vote in Driving Park in Columbus and several minority neighborhoods of Cleveland were told they weren’t registered or were registered in the wrong place. As a result, they were required to cast provisional ballots.

Elections officials aren’t allowed to begin counting provisional ballots until Nov. 17. Individual boards of elections must then certify their counts by Nov. 27, although Secretary of State Jon Husted could move that date up a few days.

1.8 million people voted by mail or voted early, according to Ohio elections officials.