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Butler County And USPS At Odds Over Lost Ballots

BUTLER COUNTY (KDKA) - The Butler County elections director says that if you didn't get your ballot there's still plenty of options.

However, the reason for saying that is that KDKA has learned that the county sent about 40,000 ballots to voters, but many voters have said those ballots never arrived.

The county elections director says an unknown number of mail-in ballots were lost by the U.S. Postal Service.

This has been a source of confusion, not just for voters, but for county commissioners overseeing the election.

"I kept checking and as of this morning, it still hasn't been received," said Butler County voter Carol May, who says she gave her ballot to the post office two weeks ago.

She's not alone. Just 22,000 of Butler County's 40,000 mail-in ballots have been returned. The post office denies losing them.

WATCH: KDKA's Amy Wadas Reports

County leaders are scrambling to give folks the chance to vote. Butler County Commissioner Chair Leslie Osche said voters can come in-person to get a new ballot or vote at their polling place using a provisional ballot.

KDKA saw a steady stream of voters coming into the court house Thursday to cast early ballots.

Commissioners said they first thought the lost ballots were just a delay in the postal system and they're still trying to figure that out.

The Postal Service says it's unaware of any significant delays or issues in Butler County.

In a statement, the Postal Service said:

"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.

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.

The Postal Service has allocated additional resources, including, but not limited to, expanded processing procedures, extra transportation, extra delivery and collection trips, and overtime, to ensure that Election Mail reaches its intended destination in a timely manner.

Additionally, consistent with practices in past election cycles, local management is authorized and instructed to use extraordinary measures—expedited handling, extra deliveries, and special pickups—between October 26 and November 24 to accelerate the delivery of ballots, when the Postal Service is able to identify the mailpiece as a ballot.

These extraordinary measures are used to connect blank ballots entered by election officials to voters, or completed ballots returned by voters entered close to or on Election Day to their intended destination (e.g., Priority Mail Express, Sunday deliveries, special deliveries, running collected ballots to Boards of Elections on Election Day, etc.).

USPS continues to process a historic volume of election mail this season. The 630,000 women and men of the Postal Service are deeply committed to our longstanding role in the electoral process, and we are actively working to deliver in this election season."

If you are one of the Butler County residents that did not receive a ballot, your options are below:

  • Go to the elections office Thursday or Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., or Monday from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
  • Vote via a provisional ballot at your polling place
  • Call the elections bureau, sheriff's deputies are hand-delivering ballots to those that cannot leave their homes
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