Postal officials say they are not aware of any problems, but the director, Aaron Chesley, said the county has received over 10,000 phone calls for information about ballot papers that were ordered but not received, and that some callers called multiple times.
“Something happened somewhere between the post office and the screening facility in Pittsburgh,” Chesley told CNN. “We don’t know what.”
Butler County, north of Pittsburgh and has about 150,000 registered voters, said Chesley, who said the county is “pulling out all stops” to make sure those affected by the issue are able to vote. County officials said in a press release on Thursday that they have sent out about 40,000 ballot papers and have returned 21,300 so far, but it is unclear how many voters received the ballots but simply haven’t returned them yet.
Marty Johnson, a spokeswoman for the US Postal Service, told CNN that they are not aware of any cases.
“With regard to sorting and delivery of mail in Butler County, the Postal Service is not aware of any delays or major problems and is in regular contact with the Election Board as we work to locate and deliver the ballot papers when they are submitted to us,” she said.
Chuck Bogar, president of the American Postal Workers’ Union in Pittsburgh, said there was “no record or indication” that the lost ballot papers in Butler County had reached the Postal Service.
“There is no pile of ballot papers taken from the Butler County Election Commission,” Bogar told CNN. “There is no record or indication that they got into the mail flow. There is paperwork to go along with it.”
However, Chesley said an investigation indicated that several ballot papers that had not been received were due to be mailed to Columbus Day. He said officials are continuing to investigate the matter while taking steps to ensure that no one left the polling request and did not receive anyone deprived of the right to vote, including creating a private email address, a call center, and speeding up polling for people in special circumstances.
“Our focus now is to make sure that everyone affected by this gets the right to vote and is able to vote,” Chesley said.
CNN’s Paul Murphy contributed to this report.