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Concerns continue on last day to return Ohio mail-in ballots

(WTVG)
Published: Apr. 26, 2020 at 9:37 PM EDT
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Ohio's 2020 primary is anything but ordinary.

Its original March date has been pushed back more than a month. This election there will be no voting at the polls.

Instead, all votes will be counted via absentee ballots, which need to be postmarked by April 27 -- or, Monday -- to be counted. However, some people said they still haven't received their absentee ballot in the mail.

The director of the Lucas County Board of Elections LaVera Scott said there could be a couple of reasons for that. It's possible your absentee application was never processed if the form was incomplete, or it could be delayed in the mail.

Scott recommended people check and see if your application was received, processed, and mailed at this

.

"I think they could have handled it much better, but you know, what do you do. I mean, this is all new situations," Toledo voter Barbara Hafner said.

For the first time, votes will be counted via absentee ballot only on Tuesday. Casting a ballot at the polls isn't an option, all in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"I've had to reach out and recruit a lot of additional workers simply because some of our own staff was ill or family members were ill," said Scott.

Dropping it off at the box outside One Government Center downtown is the ideal choice this election.

"First time I've been out since we've been quarantined. So, this is pretty important for me to come out and do this," Toledo voter Beth Geiger said.

One roadblock has been mail delays. In northwest Ohio, ballots were being sent to Detroit for processing.

"That's nothing that the voter nor we can control, but it was a reality," said Scott.

Last week the Secretary of State addressed that, saying the U.S. Post Office will now sort all mail in-state through Election Day.

The Lucas County BOE reports 45,624 absentee ballots were sent out to voters, but it's unclear how many are still in the mail.

The shear volume of ballot requests in a short amount of time has elections' employees working overtime to get it right.

The inability to track through the mail has been a concern for the BOE. Having a mail-in only election leads to handling absentee ballots at a much larger scale than normal.

In a typical election, there are months to process absentees.

"Whereas in this instance it was approximately 30 days, you know, 30 days to get all of the applications processed and out to the voters," said Scott.

Scott hopes conversations between Board of Elections Offices, the U.S. Post Office, the Secretary of State, and legislatures will happen to streamline and uniform this process so things go smoothly come November's election.

"We need to make sure that we have the best plan of action that we can put forward for the voters. I mean, the voters deserve that," said Scott.

Voters must postmark their ballot by Monday or drop it off at the box outside One Government Center by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in order for their vote to count.