Paper ballots too wide to fit in counting machines sent election officials in 25 counties scrambling for scissors Tuesday, but authorities said the problem likely affected only a few thousand ballots. There were no reports of anyone unable to vote, but counting was slower in some areas because of the problem, local and state officials said. The problem was blamed on a slight blade misalignment in a ballot printing machine, and it affected only those 25 central and northern Illinois counties — from Macoupin County near St. Louis to Winnebago County on the Wisconsin border — that used ballots printed by ABS Graphics Inc., of Addison, a company that has successfully printed ballots for three decades, according to Dianne Felts, director of voting systems and standards for the Illinois State Board Of Elections.
By midafternoon, election officials and ballot providers had figured out that ballots from the bottom of the shrink-wrapped stacks were the right size and that trimming a sliver off thick ballots already filled out was the quickest fix. In DuPage County — the most populous county affected — only 23 of the county’s 360 polling locations experienced problems, equaling hundreds of ballots, not thousands, an election spokesman said. Neither Cook County nor the city of Chicago experienced the problem.
Because only a small number of ballots were affected Tuesday morning, DuPage election officials made the decision to “remake” them under the supervision of representatives of each party, said spokesman Dan Curry. Each of the ballots that could not be counted were to be replicated by hand by elections officials on new ballots and then counted by the machine.