'Overwhelmed' Company Fails to Send Out Ballots

The media spotlight falls on Midwest Direct
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2020 3:00 PM CDT
Pro-Trump Company Fails to Send Absentee Ballots
Sorted Absentee Ballots needing voter corections at the Albany County Board of Elections building Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Albany, N.Y.   (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

A company tasked with supplying absentee ballots to counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania has kinda blown it—at least in some counties, so far. And the company, Midwest Direct, is unabashedly pro-Trump. "We have freedom to vote for who we want and support who we want," co-owner Richard Gebbie tells the New York Times about the Trump 2020 flag that flew over company headquarters this summer. "We fly a flag because my brother and I own the company and we support President Trump." But Gebbie says his mailing company has no desire to deprive voters. Contracted by dozens of counties to supply ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic, Midwest was simply overwhelmed by the volume and the need to deliver by next week.

"They overpromised and underdelivered," said an elections official in Ohio. "We would get different answers from different people we talked to. Was I happy with it? No I was not." Left high and dry, several Ohio counties are now trying to do it themselves. And officials in one Pennsylvania county are having to explain why 30,000 ballots sent by Midwest went to the wrong addresses, the Post-Gazette reports. "This was a failure on behalf of our contractor that impacts too many of our voters," said the Allegheny County elections manager, who promised that corrected ballots were coming. As for the Trump flag, it's no longer flying over Midwest's headquarters in Cleveland. Gebbie said he doesn't "have an opinion" about Trump's unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting is riddled with fraud. (More absentee ballots stories.)

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