Equipment failure delays absentee ballot mailing in some area counties

Ohio Voted stickers. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

A problem with a vendor in Cleveland that prints and mails ballots delayed the delivery of absentee ballots in several Ohio counties, including Butler and Miami counties.

Miami County Board of Elections officials said voters there should begin receiving absentee ballots this week after a one-week delay.

Butler County officials said they are moving to having all their ballots printed and mailed in-house after a two-day delay.

“I’m not sure exactly what kind of equipment failure they had, but the weekend before ballots were supposed to go out they had some kind of equipment failure, equipment malfunction and we heard later last week they were still working on getting our ballots out in the mail," said Ian Ridgeway, deputy director of the Miami County Board of Elections.

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Midwest Direct is a subcontractor for the company Miami County uses to print and mail ballots, Integrated Voting Systems. Other counties that contract with these companies were also affected.

Officials from neither company returned messages seeking comment Tuesday.

About 15,250 Miami County ballots were mailed from Cleveland on Monday, Ridgeway said, and should start arriving in mailboxes this week. Another 900 will be mailed out later this week.

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He said it’s his understanding the “overwhelming enthusiasm for absentee voting” contributed to the problem.

Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Eric Corbin said mailing about 50,000 ballots was delayed by two days.

“The majority of our ballots are out," he said. "They are finally being received by voters. We see our returns. We see people posting on Facebook they are getting their ballots.”

Corbin said the county previously printed and mailed its own ballots and are going back to that for the remainder of the election this year. He said the company stated that they were preparing for a huge increase in absentee ballots because of coronavirus, but “apparently they were not as prepared as they thought they were.”

Boards of elections were allowed to start mailing out absentee ballots on Oct. 6 and many voters in other counties have already started returning their ballots.

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