CLEVELAND — In both the August congressional special and September municipal primary elections, hundreds of early voters have been turned away.
No, this is not a case of election fraud; it’s that their precinct is not having an election.
According to data from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, the No. 1 reason voters have been denied a mail-in ballot for the Sept. 14 primary is because they live in a district or town without an election.
As of data released by the board on Monday, 977 voters have been denied a mail-in ballot because their district is not holding an election in September. Early voting for municipal primaries started last week, so Board of Elections spokesperson Mike West expects the number to grow by Sept. 14.
According to the Board of Elections, 354,586 voters are eligible to vote in the Sept. 14 primary throughout the county, representing 40% of all voters in the county.
West said voters who are turned down for a ballot receive a letter explaining why their request was denied.
In total, there have been 1,356 rejected mail-in ballot applications. Of those, 143 voters were able to correct their application and receive a ballot.
West added that an unknown number of voters have also been turned away from the county’s in-person early voting center for not living in an area with an election.
The county Board of Election had similar issues with voters being denied a ballot ahead of the Aug. 3 congressional special primary election. The county reported that 1,137 voters were denied a mail-in ballot due to living outside of the 12th congressional district.
West says he believes there are a number of voters who would rather play it “safe” by requesting a ballot. He recommends voters go to the “My Voting Info” section of the Board of Elections website. There, voters can find out when the next scheduled election will be held for their precinct.
According to the Board of Elections, primaries are being held in seven Cuyahoga County municipalities ahead of Sept. 14 — Bay Village, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Lakewood and Solon.
Information on how to vote early is available on the Board of Elections website.