More than 300 ballots delivered too late in Butler County for presidential primary

There are 318 ballots that won’t be counted in the 2020 presidential primary election because the United States Postal Service did not deliver them by May 8, despite having them in their system on or before April 27. The Ohio Secretary of State is calling for an investigation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
There are 318 ballots that won’t be counted in the 2020 presidential primary election because the United States Postal Service did not deliver them by May 8, despite having them in their system on or before April 27. The Ohio Secretary of State is calling for an investigation. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose asks USPS Deputy Postmaster General for an investigation.

More than 300 ballots cast for the 2020 presidential primary will not be counted in Butler County because the United States Postal Service didn’t deliver them until Monday morning, officials said.

Despite these 318 ballots being mailed on or before the April 27 deadline, they were not delivered, which elections officials called “very disheartening.”

According to state law, late-arriving primary ballots postmarked on or before April 27 would be counted so long as they arrived by 10 days after the election, which was this past Friday, May 8.

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The Butler County Board of Elections had received 338 late vote-by-mail ballots by Friday. Deputy Director Eric Corbin said the USPS was contacted and asked if they had any additional ballots. Elections officials were told “no.”

“That clearly didn’t happen,” said Butler County Board of Elections Director Diane Noonan after the elections office received the 318 ballots.

“We are deeply disappointed by the failure of the postal service to deliver these properly cast ballots prior to the May 8 deadline,” she said.

Ohio Secretary of State spokeswoman Maggie Sheehan said as far as they know, this has only happened in Butler County. She also said Secretary of State Frank LaRose wrote a letter to USPS Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman “calling for an investigation.”

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This ballot issue comes on the heels of an election cycle never before seen. Because of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, the state declared a public health emergency and thus postponing the March 17 presidential primary, which was eventually set for April 28 by the state legislature.

Lawmakers also converted the primary to an all vote-by-mail election with very limited in-person voting.

The late-arriving ballots will not be opened, said Noonan and Corbin.