The Butler County Board of Elections continues to work to correct the error it made on mail-in voting envelopes that were submitted by dozens for the Nov. 6 election.
The Journal-News reported last month about a mistake on the election board’s voter ID envelope sent to 20,000 voters that requested a vote-by-mail ballot. The form did not have enough boxes for voters verifying an ID only with a driver’s license. Ohio driver’s licenses have eight characters — two letters and six numbers — but only six boxes were provided on the form.
Board of election officials sent out 20,000 notices to voters who requested an early ballot on or before Oct. 10. Any voter that asked for an early ballot on and after Oct. 11 has the correct voter ID envelope.
More than 17,000 of those 20,000 ballots have been returned as of Friday and just more than 1 percent, or 180 voters, returned a ballot with an incomplete driver’s license number, according to the elections office.
Of those 180 ballots, 139 have been corrected, and election officials are working to reach the remaining 41 voters.
Jonathan Diaz, an attorney for the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center, wrote to the Butler County Board of Elections encouraging officials to count the ballots with incomplete driver’s license numbers. He said there’s legal precedence to allow a “soft match” of a voter’s partial driver’s license since other identifying information is included.
Citing Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless v. Husted, Diaz went on to write that “imposing a requirement of technical perfection on voter’s addresses and birth dates on absentee ballots creates an undue burden on the right to vote.”
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Butler County elections Director Diane Noonan said the board is “working diligently to contact voters and correct as many identification issues as possible before Election Day and during the cure period after the election as well.”