CLEVELAND — The New York Times has released a scathing report on Cleveland-based company Midwest Direct after they were tasked with creating and sending out thousands of absentee ballots to voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Midwest Direct, which operates out of Cleveland's west side, was tasked earlier this year with handling thousands of ballots, which they say was unprecedented.
“It is fair to say today that no one – not the various boards of elections, not Ohio’s Secretary of State, not our company – anticipated the staggering volume of mail-in ballot requests that has actually occurred,” the company said in a statement.
Reid J. Epstein, who wrote the article for The Times, dove into the issues in terms of the ballot delays, but also brought up a brand-new issue involving potential bias from Midwest Direct.
According to one photo taken by a photographer for The Times as well as multiple reports, Midwest Direct's headquarters in Cleveland had prominently been flying a "Trump 2020" flag outside of their building.
"Midwest Direct is owned by two brothers, Richard Gebbie, the chief executive, and James Gebbie, the chairman. This summer they began flying a Trump 2020 flag above Midwest Direct’s headquarters on the west side of Cleveland," Epstein wrote, "It was a curious juxtaposition — a company in the business of distributing absentee ballots through the mail showing a preference for a president who has spent months denigrating the practice of voting by mail."
The Times did point out that there are no known reports or allegations of mishandling of the ballots that Midwest Direct has printed at this time.
This news comes just days after several prominent Ohio Democrats called on Secretary of State Frank LaRose to intervene and investigate the company's issues in printing and sending the absentee ballots that they had been contracted for. 3News sister station WTOL earlier this week reported that the Lucas County Board of Elections had found that more than 10% of the county's requested 62,000 absentee ballots had yet to be mailed.
"I am calling for an investigation into what happened at Midwest," Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken told WTOL. "Lucas is not the only county this has happened to...We deserve to know what happened. The company has not put much into writing for us. The only way we knew the ballots went out is because our bank account was charged (for the postage)," he said.
This is a developing story at this time.