Cast away: Ballots missing

First Posted: 10/30/2014

LIMA — This isn’t the best time for absentee ballots to go missing.

About 40 people in the county haven’t received the absentee ballots they requested, said Ken Terry, director of the Allen County Board of Elections.

Some residents live at Lima’s Primrose Retirement Community, said Carla Dysert, executive director there.

All of the ballots reported missing so far were mailed on the same day, Oct. 7. That was the first day for absentee voting to occur, Terry said. The office mailed 4,000 absentee ballots this voting period.

The addresses of residents who did not receive ballots are being compiled, Terry said. The Lima Postmaster is conducting an investigation on the matter, he said.

The addresses affected are in lots of small clusters in different areas, Terry said.

The retirement community contacted the Board of Elections after realizing residents hadn’t received their ballots. Dysert was unsure exactly how many residents were impacted. The ballots were mailed to residents individually, not to the center in one mailing.

“Some of our residents were very upset about this because now they have to go” to polling places, Dysert said. “It’s a pretty big deal not to get that.”

Terry said the election board has been having “systemic problems” with the delivery of ballots in the mail prior, noting the change of mail sorting locations from Lima to Toledo to now, ultimately, Columbus.

The brunt of the issues appeared in the early days of the switch but have since died down. This is the largest number of issues with ballot delivery since.

“We understand the importance of election mail and our employees are on high alert to process and deliver all ballots prior to Election Day,” USPS spokesman David Van Allen said via email. “We remain in constant contact with the Allen County Board of Elections and will continue to work with them in identifying any areas of concern.”

Residents who did not receive their ballots still have options. Terry encourages residents who did not receive ballots to call the Board of Elections. Staff members will help each person individually to determine the best way for him or her to vote.

To reach the Allen County Board of Elections, call 419-223-8530.

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