TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – Voters and the Lucas County Board of Elections had trouble keeping the districts straight in Tuesday night's elections. A poll worker's mistake caused at least 50 Toledo voters to use the wrong ballot. The voters were given a ballot for the 5th Congressional District when they were actually from the 9th Congressional District.
According to Marcy Kaptur's campaign officials, a few dozen voters received the wrong ballots for the 5th District, which is currently Bob Latta's district, instead of the 9th District, which is Kaptur's district. This occurred at Reynold's Elementary School where voters from Precinct 24C in the southwestern part of Toledo came to vote. That precinct is split between the 5th and 9th Districts.
Approximately 20 Democrat and 30 Republican voters were handed the wrong ballot.
"Our reaction was panic, because we knew it was in Marcy's backyard. It was really where a lot of our support was," said Kaptur's Campaign Manager Steve Fought.
Kaptur won the primary election but the campaign was unaware at the time of the mix-up. Kaptur's campaign team was more than upset with the mistake.
"There are three certain things in life: death, taxes and the Lucas County Board of Elections is the worst board of elections in the state of Ohio," said Fought.
Fought was worried the state would impact voter turnout.
"They're not allowed to vote and it destroys their confidence in the system," explained Fought.
Deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections said a poll worker error is to blame. The initial 9th District encoder was not working properly, so poll workers grabbed a replacement, not realizing they grabbed an encoder for the 5th District instead.
"There's always some confusion. There's poll worker confusion. There's voter confusion," said Daniel DeAngelis, deputy director.
The board of elections sent out a technician to fix the problem, but by then approximately 50 people had already voted with the wrong ballot. The secretary of state gave permission for those voters to recast their votes, but that opportunity was not offered until late Tuesday night.
DeAngelis estimated only three people returned.
"I'm upset too. We want to make sure that we know exactly what happened so we can prevent it in the future," said DeAngelis.
DeAngelis said the board of elections is looking at split precincts and is hoping to remove them before November's elections. The board is also working harder to make sure poll workers are better trained in the future.