Rep. Sykes Calls For Letting Voters Correct Postmark Issues With Their Ballots
Summit County Legislator Urges Fair Treatment of Voters and their Ballots

State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) sent the below letter to Secretary Husted today urging him to notify voters of any postmark issues with their ballot and give voters the opportunity to correct any issue. Summit County saw unusually high numbers of ballot rejections last fall because of Ohio’s confusing law about postmarks.

See the letter below:

January 21, 2016

Secretary of State Jon Husted

180 East Broad Street, 16th floor

Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary Husted,

Thank you for meeting with me yesterday about the postmark issues that plagued Summit County’s election last fall. It was encouraging to hear of your ideas for addressing the problem. However, I am very concerned that the solutions you brought up will still leave thousands of votes uncounted in this fall’s presidential election.

I propose that voters be given an opportunity to correct any postmark issue that arises with their ballot just as they are permitted to correct other ballot issues.

Currently, when a voter sends in their absentee ballot with a missing piece of information, the Board of Elections staff notifies the voter of the issue and provides the voter with a form 11-S that the voter can use to correct the issue. The voter provides the missing information on the form 11-S and returns it to the Board and the voter’s ballot is counted. Postmark issues should be treated the same way. The voter should be notified of the problem and given the opportunity to correct the issue. Form 11-S could be modified to add a place for the voter to affirm that the voter mailed the ballot before Election Day. Alternatively, you could instruct Boards of Elections to rely on additional evidence that can be considered to show proof that the ballot was mailed prior to election.

Our right to vote is too important for technical difficulties like missing or illegible postmarks to stand in the way of being counted in the democratic process. Every voter matters and we must do everything possible to ensure fair and equal treatment of voters.

Thank you for your quick attention to this. Ohioans are looking to you to fix this postmark issue.


Emilia Strong Sykes

State Representative

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