Many people across the country, including in Northeast Ohio, consider the November mid-terms to be a pivotal election, but one local resident who plans to vote by absentee ballot is concerned about the voting process after a snafu surfaced at the post office.
Twinsburg resident Darcy Angell is one of more than 7 million registered Ohio voters who received a form in the mail to request an absentee ballot.
She filled out the form and mailed it but was surprised when it was returned to her mailbox.
"A day or two later, I got one of them back and the stamps were canceled, so I called the post office," Angell said.
Angell was told by a postal worker that about 20 letters, similar to hers, were spat out of a sorter.
"As soon as we became aware that a few requests for ballots were returned to the senders, we ensured the mail was processing correctly and initiated a contingency plan to address the anomaly," said David Van Allen, a spokesman for the United States Postal Service. "We are working closely with the secretary of state's office and have been assured the number of affected customers has been negligible."
Angell left her rejected letter for a mail carrier to pick back up so it would be delivered to the Summit County Board of Elections.
Paula Sauter, the deputy director of the Summit County Board of Elections, said postal scanning equipment was having trouble reading a small number of envelopes and the problem has since been fixed.
"The post office informed us that it already had implemented a way to make sure that those got to the correct board of elections rather than being returned," Sauter said.
About 25,000 absentee ballots have been received so far, According to Sauter.
Still, the BOE has received many calls from people worried about getting their ballots in time for what many consider to be a very important election. Sauter said people should not be worried and there is still plenty of time to request absentee ballots.
"They're concerned that their absentee ballots have not been received by us. We're not allowed, under Ohio law, to begin mailing until Oct. 10," Sauter said
Angell said the issue she experienced is an important reminder that every vote counts.
"When I found out that it wasn't just me, that there were other people involved, I wanted to make sure that people were aware," she said.
If a customer should receive a returned ballot request, Van Allen recommends handing it to a clerk at any post office. No additional postage is required.