COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Between the coronavirus and the controversy over delays in mail delivery, some voters have concerns about going to the polls and about putting absentee ballots in the mail this year.
Aaron Sellers, spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections, explained they are now receiving 3,000 to 5,000 applications for absentee ballots each day. At that rate, they expect to send out about 200,000 absentee ballots on October , the first day of early voting in Ohio.
Each absentee ballot has a bar code, and cameras in the mail handling system scan the bar codes to track the movement of the ballots.
Sellers says voters can sign up for a service called BallotTrax, which will provide push alerts notifying voters where their ballot is in the process.
“This is certainly something that will help voter’s peace of mind knowing that we’ve received their ballot or that it’s been mailed or whatever is going on. They know they’re up to date,” Sellers said.
Once a voter has signed up, they will receive notices for the following:
- Application for an absentee ballot has been accepted
- Ballot has been sent
- Returned ballot is moving through the postal system
- Completed ballot has been received by the board of elections, ballot has been approved and will be counted
Information about how to sign up for the ballot tracking service will be included in the absentee ballot packets.
Sellers says BallotTrax also serves as an early warning system for voters. If they see that their ballot was not delivered, they can notify their board of elections.
“We can spoil that ballot so that ballot becomes useless and then reissue another ballot so that we can mail that out,” Sellers said. “Obviously, the more time early in the process in the 28-day vote cycle that they do that then there’s just more time to fix it.”
The Ohio Secretary of State’s website has links to ballot tracking at all 88 county boards of election.