Absent absentee ballots? Some Greene County residents see delays in voting by mail

Officials with the Greene County Board of Elections said that missing ballots are scheduled to be delivered around Wednesday after a vendor error caused a number of absentee ballots to be delayed.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties of Greene County said that they had received several complaints from voters who hadn’t received their absentee ballot. Fairborn resident Amy Lowe said she and her husband requested their absentee ballots in September, the same week they received their applications in the mail, and still haven’t received them one week before the election. To be sure, the pair opted to vote early in person instead.

“We hadn’t gotten our ballot and it’s getting close to the election, so it’s a little too close for us,” Lowe said. “Given the slowness of it, we didn’t want to wait.”

Both the Greene County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State’s office confirmed Tuesday that the issue stemmed from an error with the county’s vendor, ElectionIQ. Officials said the remaining absentee ballots should be in voters’ hands this week, but if not, voters should vote in-person at the Board of Elections office, located at 551 Ledbetter Road in Xenia.

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“We’ve been working with the Postal Service, our mail house vendor and the Secretary of State, and we’ve been assured that everything would be delivered by Wednesday,” Greene County Board of Elections Director Alisha Lampert said.

Any Ohio voter who has requested an absentee ballot by mail is still allowed to vote in person. If they do it in person early, it will be counted along with early absentee ballots. If they vote on Election Day, it will be counted as a provisional ballot.

If you requested an absentee ballot, you can track your ballot on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. Voters can see when an absentee application is approved, when a ballot is sent and when it’s delivered on VoteOhio.gov/Track.

Early voting overall is up since the last gubernatorial election in 2018, said Rob Nichols, Press Secretary for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. While absentee ballot requests by mail are actually down compared to 2018, they are being returned at a slightly higher rate, Nichols said.

“Voters can be supremely confident in our absentee election system,” he said.

Other early in-person voters have also experienced challenges due to a Greene County construction project happening outside the Board of Elections office, Lampert said. Voters should follow the signs to the left of the construction fence for early voting and to the right of the fence for the ballot dropbox.

“Our dropbox is under 24-hour surveillance, and we check it twice a day,” she said.

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Election officials are also offering curbside voting for those who are disabled. Requests for the curbside voting must be made before 4 p.m., so that both a Republican and a Democrat can accommodate the request, Lampert said. Wheelchairs are also available for public use.

The Greene County Board of Elections is open Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For voters who have received their absentee ballot, Lampert recommended they take it to the dropbox at the elections office, located to the right of the construction fence, to avoid mail delays.

For voters who mail, ballots must be postmarked by Monday received no later than 10 days after Election Day.

“We are seeing a great turnout,” Lampert said. “Please continue to show up. Voting is the most important thing you can do in our constitutional republic.”

The Nov. 8 general election will include the Statewide executive offices of Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. Voters will also decide upon races for the U.S. Senate and House, the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Supreme Court, the state board of education, and local government races and issues.

On Election Day, polling locations will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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