Absentee voter ballots in Wood Co. delayed


BOWLING GREEN — More than a week after the Wood County Board of Elections hoped to have absentee ballots in the mail, the office finally received the ballots from the printer Wednesday afternoon.

“I feel bad for the voters,” said Debbie Hazard, deputy director.

Elections officials had planned to have the nearly 8,200 requested absentee ballots in the mail by Oct. 2, the first day of early voting, she said.

A change in the language of state Issue 2 along with equipment problems at the printing company, Dayton Legal Blank, left some counties waiting, though.

Hancock County received its ballots on Saturday, said Jody O’Brien, elections director. She said that by Wednesday, staff had mailed about 3,500 of the 4,400 requested ballots and was working feverishly to get the rest out.

In Wood County, Ms. Hazard said once the ballots are proofed and sorted, workers will begin stuffing envelopes. She said the first batch could be in the mail as early as Friday.

“It might take three days to get them all out,” Ms. Hazard said. “We’re going to be working 12, 12.5 hour shifts, and we’ll be here Saturday morning.”

Not all counties experienced delays. Fulton and Ottawa counties reported receiving their ballots on time and getting them out by Oct. 2. Fulton had about 2,900 requests, while Ottawa had about 4,000.

Lucas County Board of Elections Director Meghan Gallagher did not return calls for comment.

Matt McClellan, spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, said he did not know how many counties had experienced delays.

“We are aware of some slow delivery issues, but it seems to be ballots are getting sent out in a timely fashion,” he said.

Registered voters may request absentee ballots until noon, Nov. 3. Completed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 5 or delivered to the board of elections by Nov. 6 to be counted.