PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Midwest Direct, the company that sent nearly 29,000 ballots to the wrong people in Allegheny County, is also being blamed for ballot issues in Westmoreland County and Ohio.
Earlier this month, the Westmoreland County Board of Elections alleged its first batch of ballots was delayed after Midwest Direct said it would send the ballots on Oct. 6 but did not. The Summit County Board of Elections in Ohio said it cut ties with the company after delays with ballot distribution.
The county told KDKA that it will now print, insert and mail ballots internally.
On Wednesday, Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur called on the Ohio secretary of state to intervene after ballot delivery delays in Lucas County, which also works with Midwest Direct. At least two other Ohio counties working with Midwest Direct have complained of delays.
Around 20 Ohio counties in total are working with the company for ballot printing and distribution. Midwest Direct issued a statement in regards to the issue in Allegheny County, detailing the problem and the plan to fix it.
KDKA reached out for comment on the additional issues outside of Allegheny County but did not hear back.
Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director for the nonpartisan election watchdog group Common Cause Pennsylvania, says companies like Midwest Direct need to ensure they’re equipped and able to meet the demand for mail-in and absentee ballots, especially for this election.
“It is important that we have trust in our elections system. And unfortunately, things like this make it more difficult for folks to trust the process,” she said.
However, she feels voters can still be confident in the process considering the issue in Allegheny County was caught and no one will be able to vote twice.
“The (Allegheny County) Board of Elections is hand sorting all of the received ballots to make sure none of those ballots that were incorrect get counted,” she said.
For those who aren’t sure about sending a ballot through the mail, Almeida suggests making a different plan to vote, like dropping a ballot off at a designated location or voting in person.
In a press conference Wednesday, Allegheny County Elections Division Manager David Voye outlined the plan ahead to correct the 28,879 faulty ballots. He highlighted a new tool coming to the county’s website that will allow voters to see if they received an incorrect ballot.
“Within the next 24 hours, the Elections Division will have a search feature available on its webpage that will allow voters, using their name or voter ID number, to determine if they are part of the impacted batch,” Voye said.
Before the tool is ready, voters can check Pennsylvania’s online ballot tracker to see what day their ballot was mailed. If the ballot was mailed on Sept. 28, that could indicate the ballot is incorrect.