Ballots sent out to some Westmoreland voters after delay spurred by issues with contractor

54 minutes ago

After years of waiting, Larry Franklin was finally ready to cast his first vote for a United States president.

All that was stopping him from doing so was his ballot, which he had expected to receive this week in the mail. On Friday, it had yet to arrive.

Franklin, 67, of Monessen, along with dozens of others, came to the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg to cast his vote in person rather than rely on the mail to deliver ballots. Franklin said he wanted to ensure his vote would count ahead of a trip next week to Africa, where he’ll spend the next several months visiting his daughter.

“I don’t know why we don’t have ballots already,” Franklin said.

Franklin’s ballot and nearly 60,000 others were to have been mailed last week. The first batch of ballots was finally sent out to 8,000 voters Friday morning after a weeklong delay, county officials said.

Westmoreland officials blamed the delay on the Ohio-based private company hired to send out mail-in ballots.

“The county’s contracted mailing company, Midwest Direct, has experienced delays due to both increased volume and mechanical issues,” county officials said in a statement.

Officials at Midwest Direct Presort Mailing in Cleveland did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

Because of the delay, Franklin may have to get on the plane next week without voting. County elections officials refused to allow him to vote at the courthouse Friday because his requested ballot was now in the mail.

“Most of my life I was denied to vote, so this is a big deal,” Franklin said. “There’s nothing I can do now. My flight is leaving for Ghana on Oct. 15

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