Thousands of absentee-ballot requests may have been erroneously rejected statewide because of voter-registration issues, voter advocates say.
Secretary of State Jon Husted has acknowledged that a data-sharing glitch between his office and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles likely caused some absentee-ballot applications to be wrongfully rejected because county boards did not have up-to-date information on registrants’ addresses.
Meanwhile, a voter advocacy group said yesterday that it had found cases in which county boards rejected applications for absentee ballots of legitimately registered voters because elections officials erroneously determined them to be unregistered.
Norman Robbins, research director at Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, said group members thought that the number of absentee-ballot requests being rejected was abnormally high in Cuyahoga County. So, last week group members began their own audit of the requests and discovered some had come from registered voters whose applications were rejected when election officials could not find their registration.
The group alerted the county’s Board of Elections, which performed its own audit of the rejected requests over the weekend and determined that 865 had been erroneously tossed.
Robbins’ group performed a similar study of Franklin County’s records and determined that 38 percent of the rejected requests they checked also could have come from registered voters.
Robbins sent a letter to Husted on Tuesday and asked him to issue a directive to county election boards statewide, ordering them to double-check their rejected requests using the same more-stringent search methods that were used in Cuyahoga County during the second search.
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