COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officials in Ohio say some of the nearly 50,000 absentee ballots reported last week to be incorrect may have been correct after all, but replacement ballots will be sent to all of the affected voters in the county that is home to the state’s capital and largest city.
The vendor supporting the board initially reported an analysis indicating that 49,669 incorrect ballots were mailed, Franklin County officials said in a news release dated Saturday. But officials said a revised analysis by the vendor “determined that some of the 49,669 ballots may have in fact been correct.”
Officials said, however, that “out of an abundance of caution” replacement ballots will still be provided to each voter who may have received an incorrect ballot. No estimate was provided of how many ballots earlier reported to be incorrect might be correct.
With about 240,000 ballots mailed, about 1 in 5 voters receiving an absentee ballot may have received one in error, officials said. That represents 6% of Franklin County’s approximately 880,000 registered voters, and 0.6% of the 8 million voters registered statewide in the presidential battleground state.
The mistake happened after someone changed a setting on a machine that places absentee ballots into mailing envelopes, county elections officials said. Some ballots had an incorrect congressional race, while others had the correct information but were sent to voters in a different precinct.
The elections board said multiple checks are in place to ensure only one voter can cast a ballot, including rejecting any replacement ballots if someone went ahead and voted in person.
The news of the incorrect ballots brought renewed focus on an election seeing an unprecedented number of absentee ballot requests, spurred by the coronavirus pandemic that prompted widespread concerns about in-person voting.