Fox News senior correspondent Eric Shawn details the latest mail-in balloting confusion on ‘The Story’
The planned press conference comes as there are conflicting comments about the status of any investigation into the issue. Meanwhile, officials are saying voters who don’t yet have their ballot should visit the county elections bureau or vote in-person on Election Day.
The Butler Eagle first reported that Butler County Bureau of Elections Director Aaron Sheasley told the commissioners during a Wednesday meeting that USPS officials said the service was investigating reports the county has received about voters not getting their ballots. USPS told Fox News on Thursday that it is not aware of a “federal investigation” into allegedly lost ballots in Butler County.
“What we know is that we have received hundreds of calls from voters indicating that they did not receive their ballot in the mail,” Butler County Board of Commissioners Chairman Leslie Osche told Fox News. Osche added that the board knows “that the postal service was looking into this, but I don’t know anything specific about any investigation.”
USPS said in a statement that it isn’t aware of any specific issues in Butler County, but that it has been working with the elections bureau.
“Regarding mail sorting and delivery in Butler County, the Postal Service is unaware of any significant delays or issues and is in regular contact with the Board of Election as we work to locate and deliver ballots as they are presented to us,” a USPS spokesperson told Fox News.
“With a record number of people across the country voting by mail, the U.S. Postal Service’s number one priority between now and the November election is the secure, timely delivery of the nation’s Election Mail,” the statement also said.
Osche said that the county mailed about 40,000 ballots to voters. It is unclear how many may have been lost, as Sheasley reportedly said.
“Our focus now is on getting ballots out to any voter who did not receive one,” Osche added.
“We are reaching out to both Butler County and the USPS to obtain more information,” a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State told Fox News.
The spokesperson also added that voters who did not get their mail ballots should go to the elections bureau for a replacement ballot or simply go to their polling place on Election Day and vote via provisional ballot.
Butler County is not the first Pennsylvania county to have issues with its mail ballots. Allegheny County, which is the county where Pittsburgh is located, said officials sent almost 29,000 incorrect ballots to voters earlier this month. The county said that it was quickly correcting the error and would send correct ballots.
The county said that it was looking for any incorrect ballots that were mailed and would set them aside, and that the county election board would ensure only one ballot per voter is counted.
Pennsylvania is one of many U.S. states that are leaning more heavily on mail voting and early voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pennsylvania is a no-excuse absentee state, meaning that voters were able to request mail ballots without giving a reason. It is not sending ballots to all voters — in a system that has been termed universal mail-in voting — the way some states are doing for the 2020 election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.