Absentee ballots delayed in Butler County, equipment failure cited

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

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

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

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.

Officials from neither company returned messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Miami County in southwest Ohio was also affected. 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.

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

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