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Government & Politics

Ohio Will Count Absentee Ballots Without Postmarks

photo of Jon Husted

Ohio's secretary of state has issued new directives to address problems with counting absentee ballots.

After the 2015 general election, Summit County discarded more than 800 ballots, which arrived without a postmark to indicate whether they'd been mailed before Election Day. Secretary of State John Husted said at the time that only a postmark is allowed. But now he says the state should also accept bar codes, which are used at some postal kiosks.

State Rep. Emilia Sykes of Akron says the new rules are an improvement, but there should still be an appeals process for voters whose ballots are rejected.

“These ballots coming in and not being counted are not due to voters doing anything wrong. And they should also have the opportunity to come back in and say, ‘Let me show you what my proof is that I actually mailed in my ballot beforehand.’

“Similar to those who go into the incorrect polling location -- or they forget their ID -- they can come back to the board of elections within seven days to say, ‘This is my ID. This is who I am.’ There should be a similar process for absentee ballots that come in late.”

In the new directive, Husted also recommended boards of elections resize their absentee ballots in order to fit into a letter-size envelope. Sykes says she hopes the changes will be reviewed after Ohio's March 15 presidential primary.