State investigation begins into uncounted ballots in Miami County

Three representatives of the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office arrived in Miami County Thursday morning to begin an investigation into 6,288 ballots that went uncounted in the Nov. 6 election.

The investigation will include interviews of board members and county board of election staff along with reviews of all documents such as the county Election Action Plan.

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No timeline was set for the investigation.

Those conducting the investigation were working behind closed doors at the elections office in Troy on Thursday afternoon.

The board of elections Tuesday fired elections Director Beverly Kendall and said an investigation into the election and policies and procedures was needed. The board also approved amended certified results of the election to reflect the counting of the previously uncounted votes. Those votes were by those who voted early on touch screen machines in the elections office.

Elections officials said the error was found after the Secretary of State’s office questioned election participation numbers Dec. 20. Kendall said at the Tuesday meeting that the uncounted votes were found that afternoon and board Chairman Dave Fisher was notified.

The board’s first public discussion of the problem was held Tuesday. It had discussed having another county elections office investigate, but Fisher later was told one county could not investigate another.

Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway will oversee the office until an interim or acting director is appointed, Fisher said. Ridgeway has been with the elections office since late October.

Jon Keeling of the Secretary of State’s Office said investigation goals included to “make sure such a failure does not happen again in Miami County, or any county.”

No other Ohio county’s election is under investigation, Keeling said.

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