MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Board of Elections Director Laura Bruns recapped Tuesday night’s Primary Election as a “good day” with in-person voting eliminated, moving to an absentee ballot only Primary with its deadline pushed back from March 17 to Tuesday.
“We didn’t have any major issues,” Bruns said Wednesday. Bruns said results were slowed down a bit by reviewing write-in candidates for Democratic delegates and 80th House of Representatives seats and Republican Party delegates.
“Other than that, we had a relatively good day. It was much more quiet than expected,” Bruns said. Unofficial results showed 17,650 ballots — or 24.36 percent — of registered Miami County voters had cast ballots by Tuesday night. In the 2016 Primary, there were 33,903 votes cast and in 2012 there were 16,653 total votes for that Primary. There were 389 total provisional voters, which will be reviewed by the board on Saturday, May 9. The official canvas will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, May 11.
There were 70 letters sent out to various voters requesting an error to be fixed by next week in order for their ballot to count. Bruns said she hoped those voters would fix their error, likely related to identification, and have it back to the office by next Tuesday. Those who did not drop off their ballot by Tuesday or had it postmarked on Monday will not be eligible to have their vote counted for the Primary.
Bruns said the next step is to sort absentee ballots still coming into the office. Ballots had to have been postmarked, either by hand or by computer, by Monday, April 27 in order to be counted in the election. The ballots that were not submitted by deadline will not be opened, but entered into the voting system as received, yet expired and not eligible to count.
Bruns said envelopes have a scanning system that notifies officials when it was submitted to the U.S. Post Office. Bruns said about 1,000 ballots came in the office on Wednesday to sort.
A Monroe Township resident, Pete Avnaim, stated he, his wife and an adult child at home are dedicated voters, but never received a postcard notification from the Secretary of State. All Ohio registered voters were to receive a postcard notification from their county board of elections. Bruns said at least 1,000 postcards were returned due to being undelivered for a variety of reasons, including address changes, mailing versus home address notifications, expired P.O. Box or other issues.
“There’s a website that we can report mail issues to and I’m going to report the fact that we had so many undelivered post cards to them and see what happens. I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Bruns said. One example Bruns shared was voters who still had their P.O. Box listed as their voter registration address in the village of Fletcher in spite that the village’s post office building being closed and no longer exists. Bruns said it was never an issue for voters who relied on in-person voting at the poll when their ID was checked with their signatures.
“This voters don’t know because they vote at the polls all the time,” she said. “We’ve never sent them anything before. It’s not a big surprise with so many voters, voting by mail for the first time that they realize they still have an old P.O. Box on their record.” Bruns said she did think that some voters may have found the absentee voting system is more convenient and will increase in participation.
Avanaim said he and his wife were unaware of the Primary deadlines and mail-in ballot format and were under the impression the Primary had been set for June 2, a date that was announced when the polls were shuttered the night before March 17, but was then changed to April 28. Avnaim said he receives the majority of news by word of mouth from neighbors and members of their church — both of which he had little to no contact with due to the social distancing order. Avnaim said he does not own a television at home. doesn’t participate in radio or print news, or social media of any kind. Yet, Avnaim said he and his wife were shocked to know the Primary was rescheduled to Tuesday. He shared they were provided provisional ballots at the board office, but was disheartened that there vote may not count in this year’s Primary.
“It makes us feel horrible. Like somebody did not send us notification on purpose. How did three of us not get this (Secretary of State postcard) in the mail?” Avnaim said. Avnaim said he checks his mailbox each day. Avnaim said he had wished more notifications such as billboards or signage had been more prevalent to notify people like himself who don’t participate in social media, or traditional mediums such as print or televised news sources on a regular basis.
Overall chairman of the Board of Elections Dave Fisher said Tuesday’s Primary went great.
“It was a lot coming at, not just Miami County Board of Elections, but all Ohio boards of elections,” Fisher said. Fisher said Bruns and Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway did an excellent job leading the seasonal and poll workers through the unprecedented process of absentee voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am more than ecstatic with the state and the group that came in and made this thing happen — everyone was pulling in the same direction,” Fisher said.
For more information about Tuesday’s Primary, including a break down of voting by precincts, visit www.boe.ohio.gov.miami