50K Ohio Voters Receive Wrong Absentee Ballots

A setting was changed on a machine that stuffs envelopes for mailing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2020 4:50 PM CDT
County Sends Replacements After Incorrect Ballots Go Out
Ohio voters wait in line Tuesday at the Franklin County Board of Elections on the first day of early voting in Columbus.   (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)

Nearly 50,000 voters received incorrect absentee ballots in the county that is home to Ohio’s capital, elections officials said Friday. With about 240,000 ballots mailed, that meant one in five voters received a wrong ballot, the AP reports. The error happened Saturday when someone changed a setting on a machine that places absentee ballots into mailing envelopes, Franklin County elections officials said. Some ballots had an incorrect congressional race, while others had the correct information but were sent to voters in a different precinct. The county elections board said 49,669 voters received incorrect ballots out of 237,498 that were mailed. The process to print, stuff the replacement ballots in envelopes, and mail them was underway Friday, the elections board announced.

The board also said it will mail postcards to all affected voters detailing their options moving forward, including voting in person at the board's offices. Officials said multiple checks are in place to ensure voters can cast only one ballot, including rejecting any replacement ballots if someone went ahead and voted in person. News of the problem brought renewed focus on an election with an unprecedented number of absentee ballot requests, spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about in-person voting. On Tuesday, Ohio's elections chief announced that 88 elections boards had a record number of absentee ballot applications. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose said 2,154,235 applications had been received—more than double the 1,091,188 absentee ballots applications at the same time four years ago.

(More absentee balloting stories.)

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