Voters in Akron’s Ward 10 who requested early ballots for the Nov. 5 election will be getting a second ballot in the mail from the Summit County elections board.
The new ballots will include the name of independent council candidate Darrita Davis, whom the board was ordered Friday to give ballot access by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The board had previously voted not to allow Davis access, arguing that she is a Democrat and not an independent.
The board will mail new ballots today to the 290 Ward 10 voters who requested an absentee ballot either in person or by mail. The board has received 88 ballots back from these voters.
The new ballots will have “reissued” stamped in red on the three envelopes that come with the ballot packet provided by the board.
“In the event people don’t open the reissued ballot, we are obligated to count the original,” said Joe Masich, the board’s director, who noted that only one ballot will be counted from each voter.
Masich said the board will keep meticulous records on these absentee ballots to make sure they are handled properly and in case a challenge is filed after the election.
The letter being sent to voters explains that those who wish to cast the reissued ballots should fill in the ovals for all candidates and issues, not just for the Ward 10 race.
“Hopefully, there’s not too much confusion,” Masich said.
Davis is running against current Ward 10 Councilman and Council President Garry Moneypenny, a Democrat, and Harry Jenkins, a Republican.
The Supreme Court agreed with Davis’ attorney, Warner Mendenhall, that a voting record alone cannot be used to deny an independent candidate ballot access. The court said a voter must demonstrate “a history of support for or membership in a political party” to be disqualified from running as an independent.
Early voters must fill out and complete the return absentee envelopes and mail or deliver them to the elections board at 470 Grant St. in Akron. Ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 4 or delivered to the board in person by the close of the polls on Election Day.
Those with questions may call the board’s absentee department at 330-643-5438.
The board also had to reprint 8,180 Election Day ballots for Ward 10 voters that already had been printed.