Election: Butler County mailing own ballots after splitting with vendor that had multiple issues

The vendor that caused delays in 16 counties is caught up

Election officials in Butler County say they are having no issues printing and mailing absentee ballots in-house since splitting last week with a Cleveland vendor that caused delayed deliveries of ballots in several Ohio counties.

In a video update posted to Facebook, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said without naming the company that Midwest Direct is “all caught up," meaning everybody who has requested an absentee ballot has been mailed one.

This comes after the vendor made headlines for delaying the mailing of hundreds of thousands of ballots across Ohio. Midwest Direct cited equipment challenges and an “unparalleled volume” of ballot requests.

ExploreOfficials say Ohio voters to receive delayed ballots soon

“Many of you have heard that there’s a vendor in Northeast Ohio that had failed to really meet expectations on getting absentee ballots out on time,” LaRose said. “It’s truly unfortunate and unacceptable that they over-promised and under-delivered.”

LaRose also said that nine of the 16 counties that contracted with Midwest Direct have decided to break with the vendor and begin processing ballots in-house. Those counties are Butler, Clinton, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Mahoning, Miami and Williams. The counties still served by Midwest Direct are Cuyahoga, Lorain, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Union and Wood.

“So we decided that we no longer wanted to send any files to Midwest Direct because if we were sending things out of our office, we would know exactly what’s going on,” said Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Eric Corbin. “So taking that over at this point has not been a problem for us. We’re able to keep up with the pace of requests at this point because most people requested in the summer.”

Miami County Board of Elections Director Laura Bruns said her office is also managing ballot requests well. Both counties effectively split with the vendor last Tuesday.

ExploreEquipment failure delays absentee ballot mailing in some area counties

Bruns encouraged voters who have not received their absentee ballot to call the board of elections, which can track ballots.

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