Because of a technological glitch, election workers in Carroll County spent Wednesday putting information from 1,843 absentee ballots into voting machines so new ballots could be printed out and then run through a tabulator to be counted. County Clerk Connie Doss said Carroll County’s DS200 tabulator couldn’t read absentee ballots from a new printer. But…
South Carolina: Dorchester Coounty counting 14,600 absentee ballots by hand due to ballot printing error | Zak Koeske/The State
Dorchester County, which was unable to count about 14,600 mail-in absentee ballots Tuesday night due to a printing error, has a phalanx of people hand counting the ballots Wednesday, officials said. State Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said about 40 people were working to hand count the ballots early Wednesday afternoon and that more would be joining them throughout the day. There is currently no estimate of when they will be finished, he said. Dorchester County elections director Todd Billman said Tuesday that officials discovered the ballot printing error Tuesday morning, after beginning to open the ballot envelopes and realizing they could not be read by ballot scanning machines due to incorrect timing marks. Despite the delay, Billman and the Election Commission have reassured voters that all votes will eventually be counted. “We want everyone to know that this will be an open process, we’ll keep you guys notified along the whole way of how we’re doing,” Billman said Tuesday. “I’m very thankful that we have a lot of workers here ready to make sure that your vote counts and that your vote is counted accurately.”
Texas: Roughly one-third of Tarrant County’s mail-in ballots cause scanning issues due to defective barcodes | Alex Briseno/The Dallas Morning News
Roughly one-third of Tarrant County’s mail-in ballots are getting rejected by ballot scanners due to illegible barcodes by the printing company, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported. Tarrant County Election Administrator Heider Garcia placed the blame on the printing vendor, as officials said the scanners are having trouble reading the barcode on the envelope to validate the ballot inside, which is causing the scanners to reject them. Garcia told the Tarrant County Commissioners Court Tuesday morning that the election board will have to manually recopy the mail-in ballots with illegible barcodes into new ballots under the election code, but that every valid vote ultimately will be counted properly. “What’s happening is we scan the ballots in, and the scanner says, ‘I don’t identify these documents, I can’t see the barcodes,’” Garcia told the board. “When the scanner doesn’t see the barcode, it might as well have been a newspaper that you scanned, it’s just not a ballot.” Garcia said they are having to scan the ballots in, separate the faulty barcodes and go through the same process the ballot board follows with overseas ballots. In that case, Garcia explained, overseas voters receive their ballot via email and print it out. Once the board receives that ballot, they copy it onto an official ballot.
Wisconsin county clerks ask State Supreme Court to address ballot misprint | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Election clerks asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to issue an order that will allow them to make sure all votes are counted despite a misprint on thousands of ballots in northeastern Wisconsin. About 13,000 ballots in Outagamie and Calumet counties have a misprinted “timing mark” along their edges. Electronic tabulators use those marks to read the ballots, and they can’t count the ones with the errors on them. State law doesn’t provide a clear way to address the problem, and the clerks are asking the justices to help them figure out what to do. State law requires defective ballots to be remade by clerks so they can be fed into machines. Remaking the ballots would be time-consuming, and clerks fear they will miss a deadline that requires them to tally votes by 4 p.m. on the day after the election. Others have raised concerns about remaking ballots because they believe officials could make mistakes as they transcribe voters’ choices from one ballot to another.
Ohio: Nine counties switch to printing absentee ballots in-house due to delays with Cleveland-based company | Robin Goist/Cleveland Plain Dealer
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has reported that nine of the 16 counties that contracted with Cleveland-based Midwest Direct to print and mail absentee ballots have switched to printing ballots in-house.The counties of Butler, Clinton, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Mahoning, Miami and Williams have “discontinued their relationship” with the company and are instead printing and mailing ballots from their boards of elections, LaRose said. The other counties with apparently intact contracts with Midwest Direct are Cuyahoga, Lorain, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Union and Wood.LaRose shared the update Monday evening following a report from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer that thousands of voters were still awaiting absentee ballots nearly two weeks after they were supposed to be mailed.“ Many of you have heard that there’s a vendor in Northeast Ohio that had failed to really meet expectation on getting absentee ballots out on time,” LaRose said, without mentioning the company by name. “It’s truly unfortunate and unacceptable that they over-promised and under-delivered.”
Wisconsin: Outagamie County ballot misprint may need to be settled by a judge | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The state Elections Commission told Outagamie County officials Tuesday they would need to go to a judge to find a way to deal with thousands of ballots that can’t be read by counting machines because of a printing error.While the commissioners said it would be up to a judge to decide, they contended the best solution would be to have poll workers make changes to marks on the edges of the ballots so they can be read by tabulators. That would be more efficient than having poll workers fill out new ballots to replace those that have printing errors, they said. It will be up to the county or others to decide whether to take the matter to court. Otherwise, election officials will have to remake thousands of ballots or count all their ballots by hand. Whatever path they take, counting ballots in Outagamie County and a small portion of Calumet County will take longer because of the printing mistake. That means results may not be available until after the Nov. 3 election.
Maryland: Board of Elections searching for new ballot printing vendor for November elections after problems in primary | Emily Opilo/Baltimore Sun
The Maryland Board of Elections is searching for a new ballot printing vendor ahead of the November election after numerous printing and mailing mistakes were reported during the June primary. The request for proposals, released Wednesday, seeks a vendor willing to print ballots upon request from voters — complying with Gov. Larry Hogan’s order for a mostly in-person election — but also leaves the door open for a vote-by-mail election, requesting pricing to print ballots for all 4 million voters in the state. Maryland is preparing to hold a traditional election despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Republican governor issued his order last week, calling for all polling locations to be open statewide as well as early voting locations. Registered voters will be mailed an application for an absentee ballot, but ballots will not be mailed to every voter. The format is a departure from the mostly mail-in election Hogan ordered for the June primary in an effort to limit the transmission of the coronavirus. The pandemic has killed more than 3,000 Marylanders since the spring, and new cases have been increasing in the past week — 756 new cases were reported Wednesday, the biggest single day increase since early June. Ballots were mailed to all active eligible voters across the state ahead of the June primary, and the majority of voters made use of them. About 97% of voters returned their ballots via mail or placed them in drop boxes spread throughout the state.
New Hampshire: Voting advocates say absentee ballot errors demonstrate flaws in system | Concord Monitor
There are ballot errors – the misspellings, typos and misalignments that can prompt last-minute changes ahead of Election Day. Then there are errors, and Stephen D’Angelo found himself on the receiving end of a major one. On Oct. 6, a Saturday, the Democratic nominee for Rockingham County District 4 received a flood of emails with alerts from supporters. The absentee ballots had been sent out to voters, the emails said, and D’Angelo’s name wasn’t on them. In the box for the Democrat in his House race, instead, was D’Angelo’s primary opponent Russell Norman, whom he had defeated in September by five votes. One Republican representative from the same five-seat district, Jess Edwards, had posted a screenshot of the ballot on a Facebook page. “I thought he was kidding,” D’Angelo, of Chester, said in an interview. “I thought it was a joke at first. I looked on the secretary of state’s website and lo and behold, it was accurate.”
About 10,000 of the vote-by-mail ballots that the Middlesex County Clerk’s office sent out last weekend contained errors in the recipients’ addresses, authorities said. County Clerk Elaine Flynn said several confused residents called the her office, wondering why their information was listed incorrectly and worried their vote wouldn’t be counted if they sent their ballot back. (One of our very own NJ Advance Media reporters was even the recipient of a wrongly-addressed mailer). “The ballots are valid, and the voters should use the materials they received,” Cassandra Achille, supervisor of the election division, said in a written statement. Achille assured recipients that their returned ballots would be counted.
Montrose County will not be paying more than $23,000 in costs to the print vendor whose errors triggered a hand-count and delayed by a week primary election results, including those in a tight sheriff’s race. Print vendor Integrated Voting Systems, also known as Integrated Voting Solutions, made “numerous mistakes” in printing the ballots, as well as in stuffing envelopes and mailing them, which caused “significant and irreparable damage” to the primary election here, according to a settlement agreement the Montrose County Clerk and Recorder’s Office and IVS representatives inked on Tuesday. Under the agreement, the county is only paying about $3,400 in postage costs, which settles an entire bill that would have exceeded $26,000.
An error that forced the reprinting of 2,917,201 general election ballots will cost the state of Alabama $459,690.80, according to Secretary of State John Merrill. The ballot had to be reprinted to add the complete required language to the ballot in order to capture the entire statement that had been prepared in the original legislation. Once the error was discovered, Merrill immediately contacted the service provider and instructed them to stop printing the ballots. All required ballot styles had not yet been printed. Merrill then directed his staff to make the required, corrected changes and recertify the corrected ballot language to the vendor so printing could be completed.
Canyon County election officials say they have identified the culprit behind Election Day’s slow vote counting process: hundreds of ballots with tiny flaws. Canyon County was among the state’s slowest for counting ballots after polls closed on Nov. 8. In fact, the county finally posted unofficial results at 6:49 a.m. Nov. 9, beating out Bonner County, the last of Idaho’s 44 counties to finish counting, by about four hours. Initially, Canyon County officials believed the delays were caused by voters marking ballots illegibly, causing the machines to spit out ballots and election staff to review and tally each by hand. County spokesman Joe Decker also attributed the slow pace to troubleshooting and the time it took to call in a technician. … County officials then reached out to the printing company, Caxton Printing Ltd., and encouraged company officials to look at whether “timing tracks” — a sequence of squares and other shapes printed on the edges of both sides of the ballot — were properly aligned. Scott Gipson, president of Caxton Printing, reviewed some of the ballots and concluded that between 800 and 1,000 ballots printed for Canyon County had misaligned timing tracks.
Maricopa County taxpayers will have to fork over almost $400,000 to make up for a misprint on 2 million ballots in a May special election. Half of the money will come from the county recorder’s office budget, and the remainder will have to be approved by the County Board, recorder’s office spokeswoman Elizabeth Bartholomew told 12 News Monday. The botched ballots come in the wake of a presidential primary fiasco last month that saw hours-long waits in line. County Recorder Helen Purcell admited she “screwed up” by cutting the number of polling places by 70 percent from four years ago. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating what happened. Separate lawsuits have been filed in county and federal courts, alleging citizens were deprived of their right to vote.
In yet another elections embarrassment for Maricopa County, two million ballots were printed with the wrong Spanish-language description for a ballot proposition May 17, resulting in a massive reprinting of ballots and mailing of postcards to correct the mistake. This latest screw-up was uncovered the same day the county recorder’s office filed its formal response to a U.S Justice Department investigation of the botched presidential primary in March, which forced many voters to stand in line for hours. Many voters claimed they were disenfranchised by elections officials huge cut in polling places for the primary.
New York: A $200,000 Ballot Error and Other Misprints at New York City’s Board of Elections | The New York Times
The New York City Board of Elections has a proofreading problem — and even small mistakes are turning out to be costly. The board was forced to spend more than $200,000 in overnight postage last month to send corrected absentee ballots for the coming presidential primary, after it discovered an error in the Spanish version of the ballot. The mistake was discovered around the same time the board realized it had made another error: A recent notice sent to 60,000 newly registered voters included the wrong date for a Sept. 13 primary election for state and local offices. The board then mailed out a correction that may have inadvertently confused voters about the date of the higher-profile presidential primary on April 19.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) halted the printing of ballots on Tuesday because the name of the political party of Sen. Miriam Defensor- Santiago was not included in the ballot face that bears the names of presidential candidates. “Printing was stopped because the name of the party of Santiago was missing, but printing has resumed,” Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista told reporters. He did not elaborate. Director Genevieve Guevarra, head of the Comelec Printing Committee, said the error was discovered on Monday during the printing of the FTS or final testing and sealing ballots which form part of the 56,772,230 ballots that the commission will print. But Guevarra gave assurances that the glitch created no substantial wastage because only 39 FTS ballots have been printed when the error was spotted by personnel of the ballot verification team. She said printing was stopped the whole day on Tuesday.
Numerical figures are the same in English and Spanish – except on the ballots prepared for the Dodge City USD 443 bond issue. In the English version of the ballot question, the proposed bond amount is not to exceed “$85,600,000.” In the Spanish translation on the ballot, the number – “$85,600,00” – has the correct commas but is missing the last zero. Ballots for the mail election began arriving in voters’ mailboxes last week. They are due back in the Ford County Clerk’s office June 25, and some ballots already have been returned. “The typo in and of itself does not invalidate an election,” said Bryan Caskey, state director of elections in Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office.
A federal district court judge has halted Tuesday’s controversial election for a seat on the Peoria city council. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge David Campbell honored a request by candidate Dr. Ken Krieger and issued a court order to block the counting of any votes in the Mesquite District race. A special election will be held instead. Krieger is running against Ben Toma and Bridget Binsbacher for the Mesquite council seat. Mail-in ballots have already been sent in. Krieger sued Aug. 7 after two mail-in ballots, printed on white and yellow paper, failed to include his name. A third ballot on purple paper was mailed out and did list his candidacy but the city council voted to count the flawed yellow-and-white ballots anyway.
The city’s Election Commission met Friday morning to discuss continued issues stemming from a misprint on 392 absentee ballots, and to test tabulation equipment for Wards 2 and 3. This is the third meeting the Commission has held on the issue, which began when it was discovered June 27 that Ward 3 City Council candidate Bob Dascola had been left off the first wave of absentee ballots issued by the city. The state’s Bureau of Elections initially instructed the city to not count Ward 3 votes on the original, incorrect ballot but reversed its position over the next few days, instead instructing the city to count Ward 3 votes on the incorrect ballots over concerns of voter disenfranchisement, which prompted Dascola to file a motion against the city on July 7.
At 11 a.m. today, July 8, the Ann Arbor city election commission will meet to discuss the question of how to count votes that are cast in the Ward 3 Democratic primary. In-person voting for the election takes place on Aug. 5, 2014. But the point in dispute concerns ballots that were printed incorrectly and sent to absentee voters. … The question of counting votes has arisen because the ballots for the race were initially printed incorrectly, omitting the name of one of the candidates. Printed correctly on the ballots were Julie Grand and Samuel McMullen. However, Bob Dascola – who had filed a successful lawsuit against the city in order to be a candidate – was mistakenly left off the ballots. About 400 of those incorrect ballots were sent to absentee voters. The city has taken steps to attempt to rectify the situation, sending replacement ballots with instructions to those voters who received incorrect ballots. For background on the series of events that led to the incorrect printing of ballots, see “Dascola Mistakenly Left Off Ward 3 Ballot.”
Voters won’t have the chance to decide if a 3/8-cent sales tax is the right way to improve the streets of Ozark. Due to a clerical error, the sales tax proposal that city officials have played up at public meetings and on the city’s official website won’t be part of the April election. “I didn’t get to approve the final ballots, and it was printed without (the tax proposal),” City Clerk Lana Wilson said. The mix-up marks the second botched ballot case in Ozark for this election. Last month, the city filed a lawsuit in circuit court to fix a mistake with a shortened term in Ward III. After a Friday evening board of aldermen vote and a quick fax from County Clerk Kay Brown, an uncontested race made it onto ballots in Ward III, but the sales tax for streets proposal is missing from ballots in all three wards. “When I got the sample ballot, it didn’t have the alderman for Ward III on it, plus it didn’t have the sales tax. I assumed that (Brown) would send me the original to approve,” Wilson said.
South Carolina: Richland County vote: Finlay, Dixon, Penny Tax appear winners in count | TheState.com
In a count delayed a week, Kirkman Finlay appeared to prevail over Joe McCulloch, 7,207 to 6,891 in House District 75, in one of tightest and most closely watched races in Richland County’s botched Nov. 6 election, according to preliminary results from Wednesday’s tally. Finlay, a Republican, had 6,771 votes, and McCulloch, a Democrat, had 6,506 in the original count. Totals came just after 11 p.m. Wednesday – eight days after the election marked by huge outcries from voters and candidates alike and a tumultuous legal back-and-forth that led courts to interrupt Richland County’s vote before the count was complete last week.
City and county election officials are imploring Malibu voters to stick to their county-issued voting materials when they mark their ballots after it was discovered that numbers in Santa Monica-issued materials did not correspond to Malibu ballots. The problem is confined to two voting groups in Malibu who participate in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District election. Vote-by-mail ballots include a voter guide that shows the names of candidates or measures and a corresponding number. To vote for that candidate or measure, a voter bubbles in an oval next to the number that indicates their choice.
A misplaced bar code slowed the processing of absentee ballots in Utah County, frustrating campaigns that rely on voting data for 11th hour electioneering. The vendor that printed the county’s absentee ballot envelopes placed the bar code on the outside but under the flap. That means election workers have to open each envelope to scan the code just to check the ballot into the computer system.
Florida: Second printing error could jeopardize another 500 Palm Beach County absentee ballots, as copying of 27,000 continues | Palm Beach Post
Chalk up another printing error for the beleaguered Palm Beach County elections office. In what some veteran elections officials said is the vote-counting equivalent of lightning striking twice, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher said Monday that she has been forced to send new absentee ballots to about 500 county residents because of a new printing error. The new mistake is different — and, some say, potentially more serious — than the one that prompted Bucher to hire dozens of workers, who have spent the past week hand-copying an estimated 27,000 absentee ballots. In that case, a header was missing from judicial races, making it impossible for vote tabulation equipment to read the ballots.
Every so often here, in the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office warehouse, someone mutters “Bush v. Gore” or, worse, “butterfly ballot.” For elections workers, November 2000 is an embarrassing legacy. For campaign lawyers, it’s a badge of honor, more Purple Heart than Silver Star. Recently, lawyers and volunteer ballot readers have flocked again to this hapless county, calling to mind 12 years of election blunders. If not for 2000, many say, this month’s printing error that spoiled about 35,000 absentee ballots might have gone unnoticed, and the Supervisor of Elections office might have escaped new scrutiny ahead of the Nov. 6 presidential election.
More than one-half million Hawaii ballots were printed with the presidential candidates in no particular order, despite a state law that says all candidates must be in alphabetical order within their respective races. The state Office of Elections has downplayed the error, and officials contacted this week also don’t see it as a problem, especially for the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney race. But Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi is seeking a legal opinion after her office was contacted by voters. With Hawaii-born Obama on the ticket of an overwhelmingly blue state, there’s little chance the candidate will be missed, even if he’s at the very bottom of the line-up behind the GOP candidate Romney, at the top, followed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson, they say. Obama received 71.5 percent of the Hawaii vote in 2008.
When Las Cruces attorney Deborah Thuman went to fill out her ballot in early voting last weekend, she noticed something missing. Absent from the single-page paper were a number of judicial races — contests she’s keenly interested in because of her legal profession. It listed the heading for the judgeships, but there were no candidates.
The page was only partly printed. “I don’t know what happened, but I only got half a ballot,” Thuman said in a recent interview. “I got a defective ballot.”
A pallet of about 130,000 printed Oneida County election ballots with the incorrect spelling for the name of the president of the United States is sitting in a print shop in Albany. The cost: about $75,000. The cost to print the corrected ballots: about the same. County Executive Anthony Picente learned of the print job Friday amid a public dispute with the county Board of Elections over an apparent $115,000 budget shortfall in the department.
Republicans and Democrats have long been concerned about how the vote will shake out in Arapahoe County — one of the key swing counties in an undecided state — and now they have one more thing to fear: an “I Voted” sticker. More than 230,000 ballots last week were mailed to Arapahoe County’s voters in envelopes that possibly contained a participation sticker that rubbed up against the ballot and in some cases left a faint, near-linear mark that appeared exactly where voters draw a line to select their candidates.