Absentee ballots are late arriving in some Ohio counties

The Cleveland based company that had a contract to mail the ballots calims in some cases the number of ballots that would be needed were under estimated and it led to delays in processing.

Absentee ballots are late arriving in some Ohio counties

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Absentee ballots have been delayed in a number of Ohio counties including Summit County where a first run of over 94,000 ballots were up to a week late.

16 Ohio counties have contracted with a Cleveland based company, Market Direct, to process and mail the absentee ballots and the company claims that the number of ballots that they would need to process were severely under-estimated by some county board of elections and that has led to the delays.

The company released a statement regarding the issue.

As county boards of election throughout the country began to prepare for the 2020 election, they realized the demand for mail-in ballots would exceed the demand that occurred during the 2016 election. To meet that demand,

sixteen counties in Ohio and two counties in Western Pennsylvania hired our firm to help expedite the ballot distribution process.

We have been working with the boards of elections in those counties since August to make sure the ballot distribution process would go as smoothly as possible. Anticipating that the volume of requests might be two times what it was in 2016, our company bought extra equipment, brought in extra staff and expanded hours to prepare to meet the demand.

It is fair to say today that no one – not the various boards of elections, not Ohio’s Secretary of State, not our company – anticipated the staggering volume of mail-in ballot requests that has actually occurred. One of our county’s, for instance, told us to expect 40,000 to 70,000 mail-in ballot requests. To date, we have processed 95,000 requests for that county alone. With another 14,000 ballots requested from the county this week. The estimates provided to us from the counties were not what ended up as the reality.

Despite this unparalleled volume, we are getting ballots into the hands of voters quickly and accurately. The Postal Service delivery standards are 5 to 7 days. However, utilizing our mail tracking software we are seeing up to 85 percent of the ballots we are processing are arriving in the hands of voters one to two days after they are shipped to the post office. Our staff is working sixteen hours every day to make sure everyone who wants a ballot in the counties we are serving gets one in time to cast their vote.

We have been in touch every day with Ohio’s Secretary of State since the mail-in balloting process started to make sure Secretary LaRose and his staff know the status of our work. We are in regular contact with our board of election clients to update them on the status of ballot mailings, including Allegheny and Lucas counties. We know how important this election is to everyone in our country and we pledge to do everything our company can to make sure the mail-in ballot process proceeds expediently.

Summit County eventually severed their contract with Market Direct and began printing, processing and mailing the absentee ballots on their own.

“We have many voters that didn’t want to wait any longer for their ballot to show up and voters are coming to our early vote center requesting we void their mail ballot and they are then casting their ballot by voting absentee in person,” said Lance Reed the Director of the Summit County Board of Elections.

Cuyahoga County has a contract with Market Direct and they reported no problems with the distribution of absentee ballots.

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