Postal service says ‘missort’ caused late delivery of more than 300 ballots to Butler County

U.S. Postal Service response left Ohio Secretary of State ‘with some unanswered questions.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with new information about two other Ohio counties receiving late-arriving ballots that were mailed on or before April 27 election deadline.

An “unintentional missort” of more than 300 ballots caused them to be delivered too late to be counted by the Butler County Board of Elections, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s chief operating officer.

But Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose wants more answers.

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“The response left us with some unanswered questions, and that’s why Secretary LaRose has already requested greater detail about the new protocols that will be instituted and confirmation that the ballots were always secure while in the possession of the USPS,” said Maggie Sheehan, Secretary of State spokeswoman.

The U.S. Post Office delivered 318 vote-by-mail ballots on Monday, May 11, three days after the May 8 deadline to receive any absentee ballots. Butler County elections officials said the ballots were mailed on or before the April 27 deadline to be considered for the count of the official run of the election, which is scheduled for today, May 19.

The Butler County Board of Elections had received 338 late vote-by-mail ballots by May 8, according to elections officials. Butler County elections’ Deputy Director Eric Corbin said Cincinnati postal officials told the office there were no additional absentee ballots.

U.S. Postal Service Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President David E. Williams said in a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose the postal service followed to its processes for delivering absentee ballots.

“An unintentional missort of a tray of Butler County return ballots ultimately contributed to a gap in the mail flow, resulting in the delay,” Williams wrote.

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He said the issue has been identified as “an opportunity for improvement.”

Butler County elections officials called the mistake by the postal service “very disheartening.”

Sheehan said Butler County was the report of a county elections office in Ohio to have ballots that were in the U.S. Postal Service’s possession for at least 14 days delivered late. The office later received reports of Geauga County receiving 26 ballots late and Lucas County with 13 ballots late.

“We brought this to the attention of the USPS,” she said.

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