I-TEAM investigating how ballots from primary election got lost in the mail

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GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM is investigating to find out how some of your votes in the primary election last month got lost in the mail, and we’re also asking what this means for the next election.

This week, the I-TEAM revealed 26 ballots just arrived at the Geauga County Board of Elections. They just showed up in the mail even though officials say they’d been mailed before the deadline for the election.

The Board of Elections says the ballots had been mailed from the Chagrin Falls post office. That means they only had to travel about 19 miles. But they just arrived this week, 16 days after the primary.

We went to the Chagrin Falls post office to start digging into how ballots mailed on time got to the Board of Elections late. Inside, the postmaster said, “I have no idea about it. Heard about it on the news.”

“We’re obviously upset,” said Pete Zeigler, Director of Geauga County Board of Elections.

The Board wants answers, too. Friday, the Board decided by law, the late ballots could not be counted even though it appears all had been mailed before the deadlines.

Recently, in Butler County more than 300 ballots got lost in the mail.

All of this raises concern for the presidential election in November, especially since voting by mail may play a big role due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

*Read more investigative stories from the I-TEAM, here.*

We spoke to Pete Zeigler about thinking ahead and he said absolutely.

“We will be reaching out to our congressional delegation. The Board wants local members of Congress looking into this as well,” he said.

The I-TEAM also asked a postal service spokesperson how something like this can happen with mail travelling only a few miles, yet arriving so late.

A postal service spokesperson issued this statement:

“Regarding this specific instance, postal management is researching the matter and will have no further comment until that investigation is complete. The U.S. Mail serves as a secure, efficient and effective means for citizens and campaigns to participate in the electoral process, and the Postal Service is committed to delivering Election Mail in a timely manner. We employ a robust and proven process to ensure proper handling of all Election Mail, including ballots.”

Meantime, the Ohio Secretary of State has also written to the head of the postal service demanding an investigation into the Butler County ballot delay and now this one, too.

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