Maryland: Ballot vendor blames Maryland officials for delay in reaching Baltimore voters for Tuesday’s primary | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun

Officials at a vendor that state elections officials blame for a delay in ballots reaching Baltimore voters for Tuesday’s primary say the state was at fault, not them, for the holdup because it delivered the voter information files late that the company needed to address and mail ballots. The 330,000 delayed ballots have been the most high-profile glitch during the lead-up to the primary, which is Maryland’s first attempt at a statewide election held mostly by mail. It includes citywide races for mayor, City Council president and city comptroller. Ballots for the race, printed and mailed by Minnesota vendor SeaChange, began to enter the postal system April 27. Baltimore’s were among the last on the state’s county-by-county schedule, due to be mailed May 8. After complaints from city voters about not receiving ballots, state officials revealed May 17 that the ballots hadn’t gone out as planned. They were mailed beginning May 15, with most of them taking another week to arrive at voters’ homes. Amid a public outcry and pressure from Baltimore’s legislative delegation, many of whom felt the city was vulnerable to voter disenfranchisement, state officials said SeaChange misled them, twice telling elections officials the ballots had been mailed on time.

National: Ballot Printers Increase Capacity To Prepare For Mail Voting Surge | Pam Fessler/NPR

More Americans than ever before are expected to vote by mail this year because of concerns about the coronavirus. One challenge facing election officials now: how to print and mail the millions of ballots voters are expected to request in the coming months.  Nearly a quarter of the 136 million presidential ballots cast 2016 were mailed in. That number could easily grow to well over half this year, especially if the health risk continues.  With many states expected to expand mail-in voting for November, experts warn that existing ballot printing services could quickly become overwhelmed. One of of the biggest such vendors in the country is Runbeck Election Services. The company’s 90,000-square-foot facility in Phoenix, Ariz., is already bustling, and things are expected to get a lot busier soon. “This year we are going to mail probably around 40 to 50 million pieces. We’ll print probably close to 80 million, up to 100 million pieces when you count inserts,” said Jeff Ellington, the company’s president and chief operating officer. He gave NPR a virtual tour of the facility via FaceTime because pandemic travel restrictions prevented an in-person visit. Ellington explained that getting ballots to the right voters is a complicated, multi-step process. States need to decide what their ballots will look like and to get approval from the U.S. Postal Service for the design of the envelopes. After those envelopes are secured, companies like Runbeck step in.