Findings of ballot review to go to Brunner today

Published 10:41 am Friday, October 29, 2010

The report from the special investigator looking into 92 Lawrence County absentee ballots is expected to be turned over today to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner

However those findings will initially remain confidential under attorney-client privilege, according to Luisa Barone, spokeswoman for Brunner’s office.

Last week Brunner appointed Andrew Baker, a Columbus attorney, to review the ballots that had come under the scrutiny of the Lawrence County Board of Elections.

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Recently local elections board workers noticed a number of applications for absentee ballots going to one of two post office box numbers. When voters apply for an absentee ballot, they are allowed to have the ballot sent to an address other than their home location.

However, when elections board workers noticed the same post office boxes appearing repeatedly, they did a random check to see where voters wanted their ballots sent.

“Due to the discrepancy between the post office box address listed for delivery of absentee ballots and statements of those electors contacted by the board of elections staff, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has determined that this matter should be investigated,” according to a letter from Brian Shinn, general counsel to Brunner’s office.

Whether the report will be released in the future is unknown at this time, Barone said.

“Portions might always be protected,” she said. “Others may at some point become public.”

The findings will be reviewed by Brunner and the attorneys in her office to determine future action.

“It depends on who Secretary Brunner decides to refer it to, a local prosecutor or the attorney general,” Barone said.