Absentee ballot report sent to Husted

Published 11:43 am Monday, January 17, 2011

It’s now in the hands of the new Ohio Secretary of State.

Last week a report on the investigation into 92 Lawrence County absentee ballots, requested by former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, was turned over to the new man in that office, Jon Husted. Husted was sworn in on Jan. 9.

“The report came back to the office,” said Maggie Ostrowski, spokesperson for Husted. “We have reviewed the report and will be making a determination about the next steps in the near future.”

It was at the end of October when a special investigator assigned by Brunner came to Ironton to review the ballots.

About a month before the November general election Lawrence County Board of Election 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 election board workers noticed the same post office boxes appearing repeatedly, they did a random check to see where the voters wanted their ballots sent. On most of the calls, the workers found the phones listed on the applications were disconnected. However, those they did get in touch with said they wanted their ballot sent to their home address.

When Brunner learned of that situation, she ordered a special investigation, sending Columbus attorney Andrew Baker on Oct. 20 to the county courthouse to review those applications.

The report, which was reviewed by Brunner and her staff attorneys, was not released during her time in office as lawyer-client confidentiality was cited. At that time her spokesperson said the matter could be referred to a local prosecutor or the state’s attorney general.