Pettis Co. Clerk: 1,200 unfilled absentee ballots missing; no voters impacted

3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:48:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
By: Kyle Jones, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

SEDALIA - Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada confirmed that at least 1,200 blank absentee ballots were reported missing Wednesday morning.

La Strada said the ballots were in the custody of the US Postal Service before going missing. They were on the way to voters and hadn't been filled out.

"We've mailed out replacements," La Strada said. "Nobody was disenfranchised."

The ballots were delivered to the Post Office in Sedalia on Monday, Sept. 21. Absentee voting in Pettis County began on Sept. 22.

In the event that the missing ballots are found, La Strada said that Pettis County has the systems in place to prevent multiple ballots being counted for one voter.

"If you find those ballots, you hold those ballots,' La Strada said. "You talk to us."

La Strada said that the county's voter registration system allows for only one envelope, which includes a completed ballot and a signed affidavit, to be submitted per voter. 

"If we receive two [ballots] the other one will be rejected," La Strada said.

La Strada also said that he will be matching the signatures on ballots and signed affidavits with those in the voter registration system.

"We want to continue to be transparent in this election," La Strada said.

La Strada said ballots began arriving back to the county's Election Office on Sept. 24, though these were from different batches.

"We received two ballots back, so that made us feel pretty good," La Strada said.

La Strada became suspicious after voters sent him messages that they were not receiving their ballots.

"I was explaining to voters, just give it a little bit of time, it's gonna get there," La Strada said.

But the messages kept rolling in. 

"I was worrisome," La Strada said. "Something was going on, I just couldn't quite put my finger on it."

On Sunday, La Strada contacted the Sedalia Post Office, then met with officials at the Post Office on Monday morning, Sept. 28.

La Strada and Postmaster Roger Bounds spoke with mail deliverers to figure out if any of them had delivered a ballot. 

"It ended up coming out to be about 70 ballots [delivered]," La Strada said. "Which would be about right, because we had different batches."

After Bounds contacted mail distribution centers in Columbia and St. Louis, it was confirmed that the 1,200 ballots were missing. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, the Pettis County Election Office put together 1,200 replacement ballots, and delivered them to the Post Office that same day. 

"We turned around within 24 hours," La Strada said. "I want these ballots to be expedited and get to the voters immediately today."

La Strada said that voters are already receiving their ballot.

La Strada said that this is the only case of mass ballot disappearance that has occurred across the state.  

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to more clearly add context that no voters were affected and explain the election integrity measures in place.)

More News

Grid
List
KOMU 8 is happy to announce an updated and redesigned KOMU.com and KOMU 8 News app. Due to this... More >>
3 days ago Monday, October 19 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Monday, October 19, 2020 12:44:00 PM CDT October 19, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump on Saturday signed into law a bipartisan bill that will make 9-8-8 the universal telephone... More >>
3 days ago Monday, October 19 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Monday, October 19, 2020 9:54:00 AM CDT October 19, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
CPS elementary families prepare students for in-person learning Elementary students enrolled in Columbia Public Schools will begin attending... More >>
3 days ago Monday, October 19 2020 Oct 19, 2020 Monday, October 19, 2020 4:21:00 AM CDT October 19, 2020 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY- Missouri has seen a rise in crime in recent years. The most recent FBI Uniform Crime Reporting... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:22:00 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - By now you’re aware science tells us the only way to slow our rapidly changing climate is to... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 8:54:00 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in Climate
COLUMBIA– Elementary students enrolled in Columbia Public Schools will begin attending school for classes starting Monday. Many parents... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 6:27:00 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Candidates for Missouri's District 19 State Senate seat condemned a false text message reportedly sent to voters this... More >>
3 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 3:34:00 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in News
(CNN) - Blazes roaring through Colorado and Utah have pushed people from their homes and caused damage that officials have... More >>
4 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:15:03 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in News
(CNN) - If you're unable to get a cell phone signal when you walk your dog around the block, this... More >>
4 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 12:10:00 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Layered bar/line... More >>
4 days ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 9:40:00 AM CDT October 18, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Boone County Democrats and Republicans have found common ground -- voting this year is confusing. "Our primary... More >>
4 days ago Saturday, October 17 2020 Oct 17, 2020 Saturday, October 17, 2020 4:01:00 PM CDT October 17, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Get ready for the most difficult months yet in this pandemic. The fall Covid-19 surge is here... More >>
4 days ago Saturday, October 17 2020 Oct 17, 2020 Saturday, October 17, 2020 3:08:39 PM CDT October 17, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The attorney for a Black Missouri woman whose arrest when she was nine-months pregnant sparked... More >>
5 days ago Saturday, October 17 2020 Oct 17, 2020 Saturday, October 17, 2020 11:06:05 AM CDT October 17, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Layered bar/line... More >>
5 days ago Saturday, October 17 2020 Oct 17, 2020 Saturday, October 17, 2020 9:32:00 AM CDT October 17, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The federal government has made a deal with retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to help distribute coronavirus vaccine... More >>
5 days ago Friday, October 16 2020 Oct 16, 2020 Friday, October 16, 2020 8:27:00 PM CDT October 16, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol held a forum on the use of force and training Friday morning.... More >>
5 days ago Friday, October 16 2020 Oct 16, 2020 Friday, October 16, 2020 7:00:00 PM CDT October 16, 2020 in News
CLAYTON — The ousted diversity director for St. Louis County alleges in a lawsuit that she was dismissed in retaliation... More >>
5 days ago Friday, October 16 2020 Oct 16, 2020 Friday, October 16, 2020 6:02:00 PM CDT October 16, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- COVID-19 continues to make a ruckus in the SEC football schedule. KOMU 8 Sports has confirmed Missouri will... More >>
5 days ago Friday, October 16 2020 Oct 16, 2020 Friday, October 16, 2020 5:48:00 PM CDT October 16, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 81°
2pm 81°
3pm 82°
4pm 82°
5pm 81°