A ‘Significant Number’ of Incorrect Absentee Ballots Mailed to Franklin County Voters

October 7, 2020 Updated: October 7, 2020

The Franklin County Board of Elections confirmed on Oct. 6 that “a significant number” of requested absentee ballots have been mailed to the wrong voters, as early voting began in Ohio state.

Elections Director Ed Leonard said that the Franklin County Board learned of the issues Tuesday, adding that the error was a result of a disabled setting in some of the board’s software.

Some voters received the wrong ballots in their envelopes, with some Worthington voters receiving absentee ballots meant for Whitehall voters, for example, Leonard said.

“They got a ballot that was intended for someone else. All our data is correct. The ballot would have been produced correctly it just got inserted into the wrong envelope. The system checks that would have prevented that were disabled,” Leonard said, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

A spokesman for the board told 10TV that it is not yet clear how many requested absentee ballots were affected. Leonard said that Bluecrest, its software vendor, is confident that it will be able to trace the affected ballots.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Franklin County Board of Elections for comment.

Out of Franklin County’s more than 880,000 registered voters, more than 237,000 people request absentee ballots.

President Donald Trump won Ohio state in 2016 with a decisive 8-point victory, and polling indicates the state will again be in play. No president has been elected without carrying Ohio since 1960.

Officials are hoping Ohioans will take advantage of early voting opportunities between now and the Nov. 3 election day. Besides weekday voting, early voting will be available the last two weekends before the election. Officials also urge those voting by mail not to wait until the final days, risking their vote arriving on time to get counted if the postal service is running slowly.

Leonard said that individuals who believe they were mailed an incorrect absentee ballot can cast an in-person absentee ballot at the board of elections at 1700 Morse Road during the early voting hours before Nov. 3.

“We’ve begun to assess exactly how many voters were impacted and identifying what options we’ll present for voters who did in fact get the wrong ballot,” he said.

“System checks are in place to make sure mistakes like the one made by the Franklin County Board of Elections don’t happen — but they only work if the board properly executes those checks,” Maggies Sheehan, a spokesperson with thee Ohio Secretary of State’s office told local news outlets in a statement.

“When we became aware of the issue, we immediately notified the Franklin County Board of Elections and they began work to mitigate the issue with impacted voters.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.