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Franklin County Sent Wrong Absentee Ballots To Some Voters

Ohio started sending absentee ballots out on Tuesday, October 6.
Gabe Rosenberg
Ohio started sending absentee ballots out on Tuesday, October 6.

A “significant” number of Franklin County voters received the wrong absentee ballots in the mail this week.

On Tuesday, when voters began receiving their requested absentee ballots in the mail, some around Central Ohio noticed that their ballot didn't match their address. In at least one case, two people living in the same house received different ballots.

“It was determined that a high-speed scanner used to proof ballots for accuracy was not working properly,” reads a statement from Board of Elections spokesman Aaron Sellers.

Sellers says officials are working to determine when the error occurred and how many people are affected, but not all ballots mailed out were incorrect.

On Wednesday, the Franklin County Board of Elections said voters who received an incorrect ballot can call 614-525-3100 to request a new ballot. People can also vote early-in person at the election board building, rather than voting by mail, as long as they haven't submitted their ballot yet. 

The error came in the first wave of 237,498 absentee ballots sent to a Northeast Columbus post office on Monday.

Any delays in the absentee voting process could pose a time crunch for voters. October 31 is the latest that Ohioans can request an absentee ballot, but election officials and voting rights organizations have continually stressed that voters should request their ballots, fill them out, and send them back as soon as possible.

With unprecedented demand for absentee ballots this election cycle, a wave of ballots arriving close to Election Day might lead to longer delays in knowing the results.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.