Missing Pettis County Ballots Found in St. Louis
A batch of 1200 lost ballots that were intended to be mailed to Pettis County residents nearly two weeks ago, have been located, according to Pettis County Election Authority Nick La Strada.
At 7 a.m. Thursday morning, La Strada received a call from St. Louis Regional District Manager Pam Dunaway, saying that the boxes of ballots were finally found at a distribution center in St. Louis.
Dunaway said the absentee ballots would be personally delivered to La Strada's office at the Pettis County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
According to a press release issued Wednesday, the Pettis County Clerk's office delivered approximately 1200 absentee ballots to the Sedalia Post Office on Monday, Sept. 21, following all the procedures set forth by Missouri State Law. After acceptance by the Postal Service, the ballots became the responsibility of the Postal Service.
After receiving multiple calls later in the week from concerned voters who had not received their absentee ballot the Clerk's Office believed there was an "irregularity with the Post Office."
On Monday, La Strada and Post Master Roger Bounds looked through the Sedalia Post Office looking for the ballots. They were not found. Post Master Bounds contacted Columbia District Manager Alan Sommers and St. Louis Regional Manager Pam Dunaway for help in locating the missing ballots. Dunaway formally notified the Pettis County Clerk that the ballots were “misplaced.”
La Strada then reached out to Director of Elections Crissy Petters and Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. Ashcroft's office told La Strada they would make calls to the distribution centers to find out what happened to the ballots. They had no more luck finding out information than La Strada.
On Tuesday, Dunaway informed La Strada that the ballots still had not been located. At that point, under advisement from Secretary of State Ashcroft, the Pettis County Election's office reprocessed the 1200 ballots and personally handed them to Post Master Roger Bounds at the Sedalia Post Office. The Post Office was asked to hold all ballots postmarked Sept. 22, 2020 and return them to the Pettis County Clerk to rectify the situation, which was done Friday afternoon.
“Now the reconciling begins,” commented La Strada in a facebook post on Thursday afternoon.