Franklin County Board of Elections ordered by state to issue corrected absentee ballots

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Secretary of State Frank LaRose is ordering that new absentee ballots be issued to voters in Franklin County who were mailed the wrong ones this week.

Officials at the Franklin County Board of Elections say they will, but they are still working to determine how many incorrect ballots were mailed out.

LaRose sent a directive to the election board Wednesday, one day after after the board reported that a “significant number” of voters were sent ballots meant for someone else.

LaRose said that, when issuing replacement ballots, the board must inform those who received incorrect ballots not to use those for voting. Voters are to be given three options: to use the correct absentee ballot, to use early in-person voting at the election board headquarters, or to vote provisionally on Election Day at their regular precinct.

If a voter returns an incorrect absentee ballot, LaRose said the ballot must be set aside and the voter given until 10 days after Election Day to return the corrected one. The incorrect ballot would be processed after that time.

The Franklin County board said in statement that it has tested the system that malfunctioned and said it is now working properly.

“It’s a bipartisan group here at the board of elections that are working to ensure we get the correct ballots out,” board director Ed Leonard said. “So again, I want to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can to make sure that we get the correct ballots in the hands of the voters and that only one ballot per voter is counted.”

A record number of Ohio voters requested absentee ballots so that they would have the option of voting without going to a polling location. Requests came from over 2 million Ohioans, compared with 950,000 from the last presidential election in 2016.

Early voting can also be done in person. In Franklin County, early voting is taking place at the board of election offices at 1700 Morse Road in Columbus.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story was based on an incorrect version of LaRose’s memo to the Franklin County Board of Elections that was provided to NBC4. The story has since been been corrected.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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