Did you receive the wrong absentee ballot? Here’s what you should do
The Franklin County Board of Elections announced that 49,669 voters in the county received the wrong absentee ballots. Election officials are saying that a setting on the machine that stuffs absentee ballots into mailing envelopes was mistakenly changed. The Board of Elections is still investigating the incident, but officials believe the mistake was inadvertent. Voters across the county reported receiving wrong ballots, often with incorrect local races. For example, a voter in Westerville may have received a ballot intended for a Worthington voter.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose directed the Board of Elections to mail correct ballots to voters with a letter explaining the error. Franklin County’s Elections Director Ed Leonard said new ballots will be mailed out within three days. The County Board of Elections also stated a list of affected voters will be posted on their website.
Impacted voters have two options. Voters can either wait for a new ballot to be mailed or cast an in-person ballot at the Board of Elections during the early voting period. Voters who already returned the incorrect ballot can cast the correct replacement ballot, and only the correct replacement ballot will count. The Board of Elections can utilize the identification envelope to ensure that only one vote is counted. The identification envelopes contain a unique bar code that identifies the voter, ensuring that no voter votes more than once. Even under normal circumstances, ballots returned without the identification envelope are not counted.
If an impacted voter already returned the incorrect ballot and does not return the correct ballot, only the votes for races they are eligible for get counted. Using the example above, the impacted Westerville voter’s vote for president gets counted, but a vote cast in any local Worthington race would not.
Voters who received an absentee ballot and try to cast a vote in-person on Election Day will have to cast a provisional ballot.