A glitch in the transfer of change-of-address records is being blamed for a small number of Ohio voters’ absentee ballot requests possibly being rejected by mistake in the presidential battleground state.
The problem stems from a delay transferring some updated address records to Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office from the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles, which shares drivers’ change-of-address information to help keep voter records current, The Plain Dealer reported Wednesday.
The deadline for voter registration and address changes was Oct. 9, but Husted’s office didn’t send about 33,000 recently updated registration records to local elections officials until this week.
It’s not clear how many absentee ballot applications overall were rejected because county elections officials didn’t have some voters’ current addresses, the newspaper said.
Populous Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, received 2,760 new voter registration records and had 71 voters whose applications were mistakenly rejected, officials said. Those voters will receive new absentee ballots.
Husted said it was unfortunate that the records were transferred only about a week before Election Day, but his office defended its data-sharing partnership with the BMV and emphasized the success it has seen in that and other efforts to clean up Ohio’s voter rolls.
“At the end of the day, we’re proud of the work we’ve been able to do with the BMV and think this is a good thing for the voters and we’re getting the records updated,” Husted spokesman Matt McClellan said.
The problem was traced to a BMV website that lets users update their information and is meant to transfer that data, said Geoff Dutton, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, which includes the BMV.