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Franklin County Election Board Will Send Voters Corrected Ballot 'As Soon As Possible'

An absentee ballot sent out by the Franklin County Board of Elections on Oct. 6, 2020.
file photo
An absentee ballot sent out by the Franklin County Board of Elections on Oct. 6, 2020.

The Franklin County Board of Elections said it will send out corrected absentee ballots within 72 hours of identifying voters who recieved ballots with the wrong information.

"Every voter who recieved an incorrect ballot will recieve a correct ballot as soon as possible," election board director Ed Leonard said at a Thursday press conference.

Voters who received an incorrect ballot can call the Franklin County Board of Elections at 614-525-3100 to request a new one. People can also vote early in-personat the election board at 1700 Morse Road, as long as they haven't submitted their ballot yet. Voters who are concerned they already submitted an incorrect ballot can call the Board of Elections as well. 

"Let me assure you, no vote will be counted twice, and every voter will recieve an accurate ballot, and that ballot will be counted," Leonard says. 

After the Franklin County Board of Elections mailed out the first wave of 237,498 absentee ballots earlier this week, reports started coming in about residents receiving ballots with incorrect names and polling locations. Leonard says they are still trying to figure out how many voters received the wrong ballot, and anticipate news on that later Thursday afternoon. 

"While this process has taken longer than we would like, we're not just determing a number," Leonard says. "We are determining and identifying each impacted voter." 

An investigation has been launched into Blue Crest, the software vendor for the high-speed scanners used to process ballots. Leonard says a function of one scanner was disabled, which is what caused the mistakes.

"On October 3 at 2:24 p.m., a function of one of those scanners was disabled," Leonard says. "This was determined to be the root cause of the system error that led to voters receiving an incorrect ballot."

Leonard says it is unclear if it was disabled intentionally or accidentally, but he doesn't believe the mistake was nefarious. He added that law enforcement is not being involved in the investigation. 

There are no security cameras monitoring that specific part of the ballot room, Leonard says. However, he says any areas with ballots are maintained under "double lock and key."

On Wednesday, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a directive to the Franklin County election board laying out a process for it to fix the ballot error. The directive also detailed that if a voter should fill out the incorrect ballot, the election board must hold onto the ballot until a correct replacement is submitted. If a correct ballot is never received, the original must be "processed, remade, and scanned on or after the 11th day after the election."