Delco sent 670 ballots to the wrong people. Two Republican candidates file a complaint before Tuesday’s elections.


An attorney for two Delaware County Council candidates said on Friday that a salesman hired by the county had sent out hundreds of ballots for next Tuesday’s election to bad voters.

In a petition filed in county court, the attorney, longtime Republican attorney Michael Puppio, called for an emergency hearing to determine the extent of the problem and possible remedies, arguing that the errors put ” the integrity of the municipal election (…) at stake. “

Delaware County has acknowledged that 670 defective mail-in ballots were mailed to voters on October 25; the mailing addresses did not match the voter information on the ballot inside, causing some people to receive another person’s ballot. If the recipient did not notice the error, did not complete and return the ballot, he could inadvertently prevent another elector from voting.

The county said it took steps to identify those ballots and send new ones to voters who received them.

But the complaint filed by Puppio alleges that Ohio-based supplier ElectionIQ “was not available … regarding the extent of their errors,” and is seeking more clarity ahead of Tuesday’s election. “If an immediate hearing is not held to determine the extent, if we are able to do so by this late date … the validity of the municipal election of November 2, 2021 is compromised,” says the trial .

The lawsuit refers to the supplier’s error and also names several people who had issues with their mail-in ballots, which are different from the mail-in ballots and sent out by the county, not the supplier.

Reached Friday night, Delaware County Chief Electoral Officer James P. Allen said compromised ballots are easy to sequester and review individually. He said the county was aware of the lawsuit and planned to respond.

“We will clear up some of the misunderstandings that are in the trial,” he said.

Akron-based ElectionIQ did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday evening.

According to the petition, Howard Gartland, chairman of the Radnor Township Republican Party, received complaints from voters about incorrect ballots, which he forwarded to the county. In an email on Wednesday, the county included a letter outlining its response.

Inside, Allen said voters who realized they had received a different ballot should destroy it. Then they can wait for the replacement mailing, visit a Voter Service Center in Media to get a new ballot – which would also void the replacement mailing – or go to their compound on Election Day and vote with it a provisional ballot, the letter says.

“We operate on the need to be 100% successful in our operations, not 99.9,” the letter reads. “We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused you. “

Votes in Delaware County had previously been delayed due to an issue with the contractor, according to an electoral council meeting on Oct. 13. Ballots due out in September were only sent out on October 15, prompting some voters to complain about the short delay before the election.

The lawsuit names Republican candidates for county council, Frank Agovino and Joseph Lombardo, as plaintiffs. Puppio said it’s because he knows them and works with them and had to prepare the petition quickly, but expects “all 45,000 voters who requested a mailing [ballot] and every candidate on the ballot has an ongoing interest in it.

The council is Delaware County’s biggest local race on Tuesday. Voters statewide will also vote for supreme, superior court and municipal justices.

At a time when electoral integrity is increasingly under attack – often without merit – Puppio said his problem did not concern Delaware County and that he did not accuse anyone of wrongdoing. It is the salesperson he wants to hear.

“This is not a partisan affair,” he said. “I’m not saying that someone in the Delaware County Election Office misled someone, said something intentionally incorrect, or that there is bad behavior going on,” he said. -he declares.

“What we are saying in this complaint is that… candidates from both parties have been working very hard since February. … Some of these elections will be decided by one or two votes. … let’s end this now. Let’s fix it.

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