Franklin County behind on processing absentee ballots, to catch up over weekend
If you’re worried that your ballot hasn’t arrived yet at the Franklin County Board of Elections, give it a little more time.
Franklin County is behind on processing absentee ballots after about 50,000 were sent to the wrong voters last week, causing slowdowns on the back end as completed ballots arrive at the board.
That means the online tracking system meant to update voters on every step of their absentee ballot hasn’t been updated for about 30,000 ballots that have not yet been processed.
The board expects to be caught up over the weekend, a spokesman said, and ballots that arrive next week should be processed – and the tracking system updated – within a day, spokesman Aaron Sellers said.
The board has been scrambling since Oct. 6, the first day voters received absentee ballots in the mail, when it discovered that about 50,000 voters had received the wrong ballot because a setting that would have caught the error had been disabled on its envelope-stuffing equipment.
“Because we had to update our sorter with some new functions to segregate inaccurate ballots that have been returned, (that) has caused us to only begin processing ballots that have been returned to us,” Sellers wrote in an email.
If the board receives a voted ballot that was mistakenly sent to a voter, it has to set that ballot aside until after the 10-day legal window that absentee ballots can arrive at the board of elections. If a voter sends in a second replacement ballot, the replacement ballot will be counted. Voters who submit only the ballot they received in error will have their votes counted for races in which they were eligible to vote.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, the board had processed 37,149 ballots, Sellers said, but it still had a backlog of about 30,000 it expected to finish over the weekend.
“After that it will be next day updates as they come in, but it will never be instant or in real time,” he wrote in an email.
More information about how Ohioans in any county can track their absentee ballot is available at VoteOhio.gov.