Voter Rights Advocates Urge Secretary Husted to Remedy Absentee Voting Problems

Local officials must deliver ballots, even with insufficient postage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2018

COLUMBUS – The League of Women Voters Ohio, All Voting is Local, Ohio Voter Rights Coalition and Common Cause Ohio are calling on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to direct  local elections officials to work with postal officials to ensure they receive mail-in ballots that lack sufficient postage. In recent days, advocates have learned of at least two counties–Hamilton and Wayne–where election officials provided incomplete or incorrect information about the amount of postage voters must affix to their ballots. Some voters have reported that their ballot has been returned to them.

“Voters should feel confident that if they mailed their absentee ballot, that it will be counted,” said Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director for All Voting is Local. “While many local post offices may deliver ballots with insufficient postage to local boards of elections, Secretary Husted should instruct boards to raise these issues with postal officials proactively. No ballot should be returned to a voter because they did not attach the correct number of stamps.”

In its letter to Secretary Husted, advocates underscore the official policy of the U.S. Postal Service is to deliver any election-related mail with insufficient postage to local boards of elections. However, many local post offices may not be aware of this policy. Before 2014, some boards of elections pre-paid for postage on election mail, but a change in state law now prohibits that practice..

“We look to Secretary Husted to continue to improve our electoral process by making clear to the postal service and local boards of election that all absentee ballots should be delivered, even if additional postage is due,” said Jennifer Miller, Executive Director for the League of Women Voters Ohio. “In the long term, we promote a change in the law in which voting by mail requires no postage at all.”

Election officials in Hamilton and Wayne counties disseminated inaccurate information to voters casting ballots by mail. While both boards of elections have taken steps to correct the misinformation, many voters may be left confused.

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

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All Voting is Local fights for the right to vote through a unique combination of data-driven organizing, advocacy and communications. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with Access Democracy; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

 

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