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Error delays absentee ballots to about 400 Hernando County voters

BROOKSVILLE — About 400 Hernando County voters who have requested absentee ballots may have to wait a few more days before they arrive in their mailbox.

According to Supervisor Of Elections director of operations Elizabeth Townsend, the county's ballot vendor, Advanced Ballot Solutions in Clearwater, blamed the delay on an error by the United States Postal Service.

"We're told that two trays of ballots were not scanned by the Post Office and could not be located," Townsend said. "So we decided to reissue those ballots."

Voters affected by the error should receive their ballots in plenty of time to return them before the election deadline, Townsend said.

She also said that ABS tracks every ballot it mails out through an imprinted code on the envelope. But when some of those codes failed to show up this week in tracking data from the Post Office, she asked the company to investigate what happened to the ballots.

"If there aren't codes coming back, then we know exactly who didn't get a ballot mailed to them," she said.

Townsend said that in the past couple of weeks her office has had more than a dozen inquiries from concerned voters who had not received their absentee ballots. ABS initially informed her office that the delay was caused by an unanticipated increase in the number of absentee ballot requests that the company was unprepared for.

Those ballots were mailed out last week, and according to Townsend, everyone who inquired about the late ballots has since received them.

Calls to an ABS spokesperson were not returned Thursday.

Townsend said she has yet to hear an explanation from the Post Office.

"We are concerned whenever we have a problem like this," Townsend said." We want to make sure that no one gets left out."

Meanwhile, voters have until Oct. 31 to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to them. They can do so by visiting the Hernando County Supervisor of Elections Office or by calling (352) 754-4125.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@tampabay.com.

Error delays absentee ballots to about 400 Hernando County voters 10/25/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 25, 2012 6:48pm]

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