I-TEAM: Clearing up mail-in ballot mysteries in Cuyahoga County

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A local school teacher turned to the FOX 8 I-Team when he never got his mail-in ballot, yet a county website showed that ballot was sent back to the board of elections.

That’s just one example of voters and local officials scrambling to sort out confusion days before the election.

Rod Bell wanted his ballot sent from Cleveland down to Florida where he and his wife are temporarily staying.

He never got the ballot, but a Cuyahoga County Board Of Elections website shows the ballot marked delivered and returned.

“Imagine my surprise when it says your ballot was sent,” Bell said. “Funny thing is, I’ve voted before this way. Never had a problem.”

He added, “It’s disconcerting.”

He wondered, had someone else voted with his ballot? So, the I-Team investigated.

The Board of Elections looked into it and found that mail-in ballot made it to Florida. Then, it was retuned by the Postal Service even though it had the right address. But, the Board also found, the ballot had not been opened.

The I-Team checked with voting officials around Northeast Ohio. The biggest challenges with mailed ballots involve voters leaving off personal information and signatures, or filling out multiple ballot applications. Officials have been sifting through all of that to make sure each person gets one vote and it counts.

We also spoke to Shannon Preston. He had to send in a second application, and now his ballot has finally been mailed out to him.

“This entire election process has been really frustrating,” he said. “Now, it’s a last-minute scramble. Some people may get to the point where they just say forget about it.”

Back in Florida, Bell is determined to have his vote count.

He pointed out, “I am getting all the campaign ads, so I know they have the right address.”

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