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State Rep. Clyde wants Husted to direct elections boards to count 1,000 ballots
A new mail handling process means the ballots had no postmarks, but were delivered to elections boards
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
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State Rep. Kathleen Clyde is asking Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to override a technical problem so about a thousand ballots in the general election in Summit and Portage counties can be counted. 

Tomorrow is the deadline for the official count of ballots cast in Ohio’s Nov. 3 election. At this point, 900 absentee ballots in Summit County and another 99 in Portage are not expected to be included. That’s because they went through a new process at a postal center that allowed the ballots to be forwarded to the Board of Elections without a postmark. Ohio requires postmarks on mail-in ballots 

In a letter to Husted, Clyde – a Kent Democrat – asks Husted to direct  boards of election to count the votes. Clyde has said she’s concerned about moves by Republican lawmakers that make it more difficult for people to vote and their votes to be counted.

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Here's the text of Clyde's letter:

November 23, 2015

Secretary of State Jon Husted
180 E. Broad Street, 16th floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary Husted, 

I write to urge action to fix a major problem. Before tomorrow's deadline for the official vote count in the November 3rd election, counties need to be instructed to include ballots in the count that were rejected over minor errors, especially those that arrived at the Board of Elections without a postmark applied by the Post Office.  

Just as you have instructed boards to seal envelopes for voters who fail to do so, you can also instruct boards to do the right thing and count ballots that arrive from the Post Office without a postmark. A directive from your office will solve this problem for the whole state. Summit County's nearly 900 rejections and Portage County’s 99 rejections for this reason show that we must not wait. A solution is needed now. 

 Voting is not easy in Ohio if a minor technicality or the failure of a third party to act results in a ballot being thrown out. Over 103,000 ballots have been rejected in general elections since 2011. The 2015 rejections will cause that number to climb even higher. Seventy elections have been decided by 1 vote in recent years. The dignity of each voter and the integrity of our election outcomes are at stake.  

Thank you for attention to this matter.  

Respectfully, 

Kathleen Clyde

State Representative 

“You know I’m focused on making Ohio elections better, fairer and more accessible. And we need to increase our voter turnout, and I hope that our secretary of state will join in those efforts.”

Clyde says counting these votes would be the equivalent of an earlier directive from Husted to elections boards to seal absentee ballot envelopes when voters forgot to.

 

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