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New directive would count Ohio ballots without postmarks
Secretary of State John Husted says bar codes can be used as proof-of-mailing
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


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Kabir Bhatia
 
Secretary of State John Husted has also suggested that absentee ballots be re-sized so they fit inside standard-sized envelopes.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
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Ohio's Secretary of State has issued several new directives regarding absentee ballots. Had they been in place in November, nearly a thousands voters would have had their ballots counted in Summit County alone. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.
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After the 2015 general election, Summit County discarded more than 800 ballots that 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 re-size their absentee ballots to fit into a letter-size envelope. Sykes says she hopes the changes will be reviewed after Ohio's March 15 presidential primary.
 
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