Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland and is Ohio’s second-largest county, also has an absentee ballot contract with Midwest Direct but has had no problems getting its ballots printed and shipped, according to Mike West, a spokesman for the Board of Elections there.
But some Cuyahoga County voters have reported ballot delays similar to those in other counties.
Pam Ogilvy, a high school social studies teacher from Parma, Ohio, said she requested an absentee ballot in mid-September. The Cuyahoga Board of Elections website first said her ballot would be shipped by Oct. 6, the first day Ohio ballots could be released. A subsequent update said it would be shipped by Oct. 12. Her ballot finally arrived Friday — 10 days after it was first supposed to be mailed.
Ohio ballots can be counted if they are postmarked by Nov. 2, the day before Election Day. They can also be returned in person to a county board of elections before the polls close Nov. 3.
Richard Gebbie declined to be interviewed this week. In a statement released to clients Thursday, he said the delays occurred because counties underestimated the amount of ballots they would need printed.
“It is fair to say today that no one — not the various boards of elections, not Ohio’s secretary of state, not our company — anticipated the staggering volume of mail-in ballot requests that has actually occurred,” he said. “The estimates provided to us from the counties were not what ended up as the reality.”
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In Summit County, ballots from Midwest Direct were delayed until Oct. 10, with the rest of the initial batch of 95,000 not mailed until Oct. 12, according to Tom Bevan, a Democrat who sits on the Board of Elections.
In Lucas County, 60,000 ballots that Midwest Direct promised to send on Oct. 6 were not mailed until a week later, said Pete Gerken, a county commissioner.