The county commissioners have received “thousands” of media requests about the disappearance of mail-in ballots in Butler and other counties, and to settle the matter they held a press conference Thursday to assure voters that they are delivering ballots.
Leslie Osche, Kevin Boozle and Kim Geyer announced Thursday that the county is delivering mail in ballots “as we speak,” Osche said. They also noted that the sheriff's deputies are hand delivering ballots to people in the county, and for out-of-state voters they are expediting the mailing process.
The commissioners couldn't say how many mail-in ballots were missing or disappeared, but Osche noted the county mailed 40,000 ballots and 21,300 have been returned.
Aaron Sheasley, director of the elections bureau, revealed Wednesday that he was contacted Tuesday by U.S. Postal Service officials at the federal level that an investigation is ongoing into the disappearance of mail-in ballots in Butler and other counties.
The United States Postal Service responded to a request for comment about the ballots with an email.
"Regarding mail sorting and delivery in Butler County, the Postal Service is unaware of any significant delays or issues and is in regular contact with the Board of Election as we work to locate and deliver ballots as they are presented to us."
“Our focus is getting everyone an opportunity to vote,” Sheasley said Thursday when asked about the ballots, noting that Butler isn't the only county with this problem.
Osche noted that some voters requested multiple mail-in-ballots because they were getting multiple applications and that may have contributed to the problem. But for now, Osche said, the county isn't looking into the matter.
“We don't have time to worry about the hows and the whys,” she said.
Boozle said, “We don't believe it was a problem on our side.”
Another possible factor that might have contributed to the problem is that there are 20,000 additional registered voters for this election cycle compared to the primaries, according to Sheasley.
This is an excerpt from a larger article that appears in Friday's Butler Eagle.