I-Team: Blank ballots, two votes for president and other oddities in Cuyahoga County

I-Team

CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found many local voters went to the polls this month and did some very odd things with their ballots.

Most folks went to the polls to vote for their favorite candidates, but in Cuyahoga County, more than 52,000 people turned in ballots completely blank or partly blank.

While it seemed everyone had an opinion for president, in Cuyahoga County, more than 2,500 voters didn’t pick a candidate for the White House, 1,600 put down a write-in candidate, and 1,400 picked two candidates for president. Those votes didn’t count.

Poll workers also told the I-Team about a voter repeatedly asking for a new ballot while claiming she’d messed up. One poll worker said the voter claimed she had to start over three times.

“She came back and said,  ‘I made a mistake. I made the wrong choice for one of the offices. Can I have a new ballot?’”

“The third time, we obviously let her know this is the final ballot. This is the limit. And, if she messed up again, there was nothing we could really do for her, at that point.”

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections was not surprised.

“They don’t vote the entirety of the ballot. Not everyone was interested in voting for president. They may have just been interested in a local tax issue,” director Anthony Perlatti said. “I don’t know why people choose not to vote for a contest. They’re entitled to do that.”

We also looked back. Four years ago, 40,000 people cast ballots completely or partly blank. And thousands more didn’t vote for president.

Meantime, we also checked for anything unusual with mailed ballots. Did any get delayed in the mail? Election officials in four counties said no. They did not get any ballots that had been postmarked on time too late to be counted.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections just certified the latest votes. The board determined there should be a recount of votes to decide the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school levy. That issue was so close, it triggered an automatic recount.

Voters we met leading up to Election Day made it clear to us they considered their ballots precious. Not everyone sees it the same way.

In the end, every vote counts, if you cast it.

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