BOE begins Nov. 3 canvass

MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections began its official canvass of the Nov. 3 General Election on Monday.

The board finalized the canvass process on Tuesday after they reconvened from their Monday recess.

On Monday, the board reviewed the additional absentee ballots received by the Nov. 13 deadline and provisional ballots.

Following a review of the 1,287 ballots, 1,060 ballots were approved, 223 were rejected and four were scanned and counted in error due to voter error.

Director Laura Bruns said the checklist that accompanied the absentee ballots helped minimize the errors of validating identification, address, and other verification steps.

“There was that checklist on the back and it was surprising how many people actually checked each thing off. They actually looked at the back before they sent the ballot, so that’s good,” Bruns said.

Five voters in Miami County were found to have voted both in-person and by absentee ballot. Board member Audrey Gillespie made a motion for those five voters’ information to be forwarded to the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office for their “double vote.” The motion was approved with board member Jim Oda abstaining from the vote.

Four voters also inserted their provisional ballots into the scanner that feeds into the ballot boxes at the polls instead of handing them back to a poll worker in the provisional envelope.

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote if a voter’s eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be permitted to vote at his or her polling place. The content of a provisional ballot is no different from a regular ballot, but it is cast “provisionally” until election officials can verify the voter’s eligibility to vote in the particular precinct at that election.

Those four provisional ballots were counted on Election Day due to being submitted in the ballot box before being collected by elections staff for verification. Bruns said the incidents happened in different polling locations. While elections officials were notified when the issue happened, once the ballot is in the ballot box, there’s nothing that can be done other than note the error.

Approximately 76 percent of Miami County registered voters turned out to vote in the 2020 general election.

Miami County added 3,211 more registered voters to its list compared to the 2016 General Election and approximately 4,480 more votes were cast compared to 2016 in this year’s General Election.

In the 2016 November General Election, Miami County had 72,259 registered voters with 52,763 casting votes in that presidential election — or 73 percent voter participation.

According to Nov. 3 data, 15,482 absentee votes were cast in Miami County; 21,132 early votes were cast; and 20,629 votes were cast on Election Day for a total of 57,243 ballots cast out of 75,470 registered voters, or 75.85 percent of registered voters, turned out for the 2020 General Election.

Some examples of absentee and provisional ballots that were rejected:

• 2 absentee ballots were returned with no identification or its stub to track identification

• 23 absentee voters failed to “cure” or fix their ballots after they were contacted by mail to do so

• 11 absentee ballots were returned without an ID envelope, no ballot inside the ID envelope or voters who removed the ballot stub

• As of Friday, 26 total late absentee ballots were received after the deadline and deemed uncountable due to their postmark after the deadline of Nov. 2

• 181 provisional ballots were from voters not registered anywhere in Ohio. Those voters will be entered into the registration system, but their ballots will not count.

• 15 voters were registered in the county, but at the wrong polling location

• 12 voters provided no identification, address, or date of birth

Some examples of absentee and provisional ballots that were approved:

• 221 voters moved to Miami County, registered to vote in Ohio, but didn’t provide an address change

• 475 voters had moved within the county and their ballots were approved

• 15 provisional ballots were from voters who had been “scrubbed” off the registration rolls due to the lack of voting participation. As long as those voters had not moved from their original registered address, they were approved.

• 57 absentee ballots were received with the correct postmark on or before Nov. 2 and were able to be counted because they were received by the Nov. 13 deadline.

• 13 provisional ballots were rejected due to incomplete ballots

• 208 voters that had requested an absentee ballot, voted in-person on Election Day with a provisional ballot.