A small fraction of Ohio voters’ absentee ballot requests may have been mistakenly rejected due to a recently discovered glitch in the transfer of change-of-address records. Even though the deadline for voters to register or change their address was three weeks ago, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted just this week sent about 33,000 updated registration records to local elections officials. The local boards had to immediately process the records to ensure those voters could properly cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election. An unknown number of absentee ballot applications across the state have been rejected due to the delay because election officials did not have some voters’ current addresses.
Officials in Cuyahoga County said 71 such applications were rejected. Those voters now will be sent new absentee ballots. Figures for rejected absentee ballot applications in other counties were not immediately available.
The delay can be traced to a breakdown in the data-sharing partnership between the Secretary of State and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Husted last year began working with the BMV to coordinate the agency’s online change-of-address system with the state’s voter registration rolls.
But, according to a directive Husted sent Monday to election officials across the state, “the vast majority of the records collected electronically through the BMV change of address system between July and Oct. 9, 2012 were transferred late last week.”