Cuyahoga County elections officials this week took the unusual step of retrieving an absentee ballot from a locked ballot box after a voter complained that her ballot was missing a page. Elections Director Jane Platten said Wednesday that officials acted properly when they retrieved the ballot under the watch of a board Republican and Democrat. The voter, from Strongsville, was then given the second page to cast her vote.
The incident happened on the first day of absentee voting on Tuesday. Platten said officials are certain the mistake was isolated. The board examined tablets containing blank ballots and found 20 other people who had voted previously were given two pages.
“We were able to audit the precincts of the other 20 voters who had voted prior to this person,” she said. “We were able to conclude the voters who voted previously all received two pages.”
The missing page contained a proposed constitutional amendment that would exempt Ohio from mandated coverage under President Obama’s health-care law.
Platten said she took steps to make sure the mistake doesn’t happen again. “It’s a training issue we really need to hit home again,” she said.
Platten took over the board in 2007, and is credited with cultivating reforms after a history of voting problems.
Candice Hoke, a Cleveland State University election law professor, said the board handled the problem appropriately. “What the board did was to acknowledge the error and take steps to correct it,” she said.