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County officials say mail-in ballot ruling won’t impact vote count

Gianna Simmons scans ballots into the system at the Bureau of Elections on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 26, 2022. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

County commissioners said Tuesday’s ruling from state Supreme Court that requires counties to set aside, but not count mail-in and absentee ballots without dates will not create a problem for the Election Bureau.

The county didn’t count undated mail-in ballots in this year’s primary, and won’t count them in the Nov. 8 election.

“We don’t open them. We don’t canvas them,” Commissioner Kevin Boozel said.

He said he believes voters have become familiar with the rules for voting through the use of mail-in and absentee ballots over the last several years, and he believes that only a small number of undated ballots will be submitted.

“It’s been drilled into people. I expect a minimal number,” Boozel said.

He said 20,499 mail-in and absentee ballots have been requested, 20,379 were issued and 12,867 have been sent in.

Boozel said he believes the ruling will be challenged in court.

Leslie Osche, chairwoman of the commissioners, said the county has adhered to the law by not counting undated mail-in ballots, and the court ruling creates consistency for all counties.

“We were following that procedure anyway,” Osche said. “We thought that was part of the law. We’re glad to see the Supreme Court ruled in the matter so there is consistency across the commonwealth. “Consistency matters. Otherwise there would have been a lot of post-election challenges.”

She said hopes the ruling prevents lawsuits, but she won’t be surprised if lawsuit suits are filed.

A portion of this story is shared with you as a digital media exclusive. More will be available later for subscribers. Please consider supporting our local, independent newsroom by subscribing at butlereagle.com.

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