Postal officials say they are unaware of any problems, but director Aaron Shiasley said he has received more than 10,000 phone calls to the county seeking information about ballots that have been requested but not received, and that several callers have made multiple calls.
“Something happened somewhere between the post office and the Pittsburgh sorting facility,” Shiasley told CNN. “We don’t know what.”
Butler County is located north of Pittsburgh and has about 150,000 registered voters, Shiasli said, adding that the county is “expelling all stops” to ensure that victims of the issue can vote. County officials said in a statement Thursday that they have sent about 40,000 votes and that 21,300 have returned so far, but it is not clear how many voters received the ballots, but have not yet returned them.
Marty Johnson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service, told CNN that she did not know of any problems.
“Regarding the sorting and delivery of mail in Butler County, the Postal Service is not aware of any significant delays or problems, and we are in constant contact with the Board of Elections as we work to locate and deliver the votes as they are delivered to us,” he said.
Chuck Bucker, president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Postal Workers’ Union, said there were “no records or signs” that the missing ballots in Butler County had yet arrived at the Postal Service.
“There are no sitting ballots from the Butler County Electoral Commission,” the complaint told CNN. “There is no record or indication that they entered the mail stream. It is accompanied by paper documents.”
However, Shiasli said the investigation indicated that many of the ballots that were not received were scheduled to be sent around Columbus Day. He said officials were continuing to investigate the matter as they took steps to ensure that anyone who requested and did not receive a ballot was not allowed to vote, including setting up a special email address, a call center and expediting voting for people in special circumstances.
“Right now our focus is to make sure everyone affected by this can get the ballot and vote,” Sheesley said.
Paul Murphy of CNN contributed to this report.