Saturday, October 28, 2006

CORDRAY ASKS BLACKWELL TO MAKE SURE ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE COUNTED

Columbus -- The Ohio Secretary of State’s office should immediately direct county election boards to make sure that no absentee ballots are languishing in local postmasters because of incorrect postage, Ohio Treasurer Candidate Richard Cordray said today.

In a letter to the Secretary of State, Cordray asked Ken Blackwell to direct election boards to do two things: “First, coordinate with their local post offices to ensure that all mail ballots are delivered to the boards of election without delay regardless of correct postage. Second, to immediately make clear to local post offices that postage shortfalls will be paid by the election board or the secretary of state to ensure the timely and complete processing of all absentee ballots for this election.”

Cordray noted four examples of the problem: Franklin County provides that sixty-three cents postage is required to return an absentee ballot; in Fairfield County the amount is $1.11; in Lucas County, no postage is required because the Board of Elections assumes the cost; and in Butler County, voters were told postage would be 63 cents when it was actually 87 cents.

“With early voting reaching levels never seen before in Ohio history, the complete and accurate processing of all mail ballots is essential to a fair election,” Cordray said. “If voters place the wrong postage on their absentee ballots, it is possible their ballots may not be delivered and would not be counted.

“The last thing I want is for the post office to unintentionally become a repository of absentee ballots,” he added. “If the election board made errors calculating postage due, citizens should not have to pay for that mistake with their votes. Election boards should be working closely with their local post offices to make absolutely sure that every single absentee ballot is delivered and counted.”

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