Ohio mailer has Cuyahoga County voters concerned and calling the board of elections

Board of elections reports hundreds of calls
Posted at 10:35 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-05 16:35:18-04

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections reported it's received hundreds of phone calls over the past 24 hours from concerned voters about a mailer from the Ohio Democratic Party.

The mailer states "important election notice" in bold print on one side, and "our records indicate you have not returned your ballot' on the other side.

Pete Novakovic, a Cuyahoga County voter from Seven Hills, said the mailer made him concerned his mail-in ballot somehow got lost, causing him to contact the board of elections for clarification.

"You don't do anything that will make people panic like this," said Novakovic.

"We've had a lot of election shenanigans going on, and sometimes you don't know what is legitimate and what is not."

"I sent in my ballot nine days ago and this mailer made me concerned."

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald said that while the mailer was well-intended, it used dated information and a poor choice of words.

"This mailing was very confusing and inaccurate," explained McDonald.

"It appears that it's from an old voter file that was done weeks ago, so it's not accurate, it's not updated and it confuses the voter."

"It simply could have just said, 'if you haven't returned your ballot, please send it back in.'"

McDonald also pointed out the mailer was sent using bulk mail postage, making it even more dated.

"It's going to take six to nine days prior to somebody receiving this," said McDonald. "So the data is going to be outdated and it's going to be old."

McDonald said an alert about the confusing mailer has been posted on the board of elections website.

Voters can also check on the status of their mail-in ballots on the site.

McDonald said he contacted the Ohio Democratic Party about the confusion, and said he hopes it learned and important lesson.

"I encourage all parties, before they do any mailings, to contact the boards of elections and make sure what they're sending is true and accurate," said McDonald.