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.

South Carolina: State considers cutting ties with printer after Charleston absentee ballots found in Maryland | Andy Shain/Post and Courier

South Carolina election officials could have counties cut ties to a Minnesota printer after about 20 Charleston County absentee ballots were found in Maryland this week. The ready-to-mail ballots have since made their way to Charleston-area voters, state and county election officials said, but it is just the latest problem with SeaChange Print Innovations, which prints and mails absentee ballots for 13 S.C. counties. Some Greenville County voters received the wrong absentee ballots this year when the Democratic presidential primary and a special election for sheriff were held 10 days apart, S.C. Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said. Some Charleston County voters received ballots that were folded in a way that could make them tougher to read by scanning machines, he said. The latest mishap has left the state election agency with little confidence that SeaChange can handle the surge in absentee voting this year as people practice social distancing to avoid contracting the coronavirus, Whitmire said.

California: Fresno ballot vendor has trouble in Colorado, warned by state of California | The Fresno Bee

The company that has a multimillion-dollar contract to provide voting services to Fresno County and others across at least two states is in hot water for printing outdated ballots in Colorado, triggering a manual recount. The company, Integrated Voting Systems, also shares a working name, address and other details with a corporation that owes more than $270,000 in back taxes and is barred from doing business in California. These companies are linked to still more printing companies which have had millions of dollars worth of liens and civil judgments levied against them. For nearly two years, Integrated Voting Systems has done business as Integrated Voting Solutions, both based in Fresno and Dinuba. Although leadership for the former vehemently denies any association with the latter, it’s clear the two companies are related – if not the same business.

Colorado: Ballot printing company for Montrose County in hot water elsewhere | Grand Junction Sentinel

The company that inaccurately printed 25,000 ballots for Montrose County’s primary election has been suspended from conducting business in California for unpaid taxes and is also delinquent in filing required paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. Integrated Voting Solutions, based in California, owes that state almost $5,000 in unpaid taxes and was suspended from legally transacting business in the state in June 2017. According to records from California’s Franchise Tax Board, which collects state personal income and corporate income taxes, IVS cannot defend itself in court or maintain the right to use its name for business purposes in California until it pays the taxes and is no longer suspended. The company also faces a $2,000 penalty per tax year for failing to file its tax returns, according to the tax board. IVS remains on the California secretary of state’s list of approved ballot vendors issued in January, despite the suspension. It initially registered with the state in 2004.

Liberia: Ballot Papers to Be Printed in Europe | Liberian Observer

Authorities of the National Elections Commission (NEC) yesterday announced that they have hired a European company to print ballot papers for the October polls. Jerome G. Korkoya, NEC chair, made the disclosure yesterday during a regular weekly press briefing at the Commission’s headquarters in Monrovia. Korkoya said the Commission has already concluded the process of selecting a “reputable company” noted for printing election materials, including ballot papers, from Europe. “The company has gone through all of our procurement procedures, and was determined to be the most responsive bidder,” Korkoya said. Although Korkoya did not name the company in question, he said NEC will encourage all qualified political parties’ representatives as well as independent candidates to go to Europe and monitor on behalf of their respective institutions the ballot printing process, but added that those interested in going to Europe to authentic the process will do so at their own expense. “They will pay for their own plane tickets, lodging and internal travels therein in case any group of friends choose to go to Europe,” Korkoya added.

Nepal: Printing ballot papers for local elections may take two months: Election Commission | My Republica

The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday said that it might take at least two months to print the ballot papers for the local elections if additional printing machines are not arranged for Janak Sikshya Samagri Kendra (JSSK). After holding consultations with the officials of JSSK and Education Secretary Shanta Kumar Shrestha, is also the chairperson of JSSK, the Election Commission has reached to the conclusion that printing of ballot papers will not get accomplished in less than two months. It has also stressed the need of seeking alternatives for printing the ballot papers in time. “Printing ballot papers will not be easy unless we purchase new machines or seek alternatives to expedite the ballot printing process,” said Election Commissioner Ila Sharma.

Zambia: Ballot verification complete | ZNBC

Verification of Presidential ballot papers for the August 11 general elections has been completed. The Electoral Commission of Zambia -ECZ- and political party representatives taking part in the exercise have since commenced verification of ballots for local government elections which include councillors, mayors, and council chairpersons. The stakeholders are also expected to start verifying the referendum ballots today. And UPND Director Research and Policy Joseph Lungu is happy with the manner process has been conducted.

Zambia: Ballots for Zambian Elections to Arrive This Week | VoA News

The Electoral Commission of Zambia says printed ballots to be used in the August 11 elections will arrive in Lusaka on Thursday. ECZ officials said political party representatives would be at the airport in the capital to receive and inspect the ballots before they are transported to polling stations across the country. The ECZ awarded a contract to the Dubai-based al-Ghurair Printing Company to prepare all ballots to be used for the presidential, legislative and local elections and a referendum. Opposition parties, including the United Party for National Development, said the printing of ballots by a company outside the continent was too expensive and could be used by the government to rig the elections. Until this year, ballots for Zambian elections were printed in South Africa.

Zambia: Opposition: Having Ballots Printed in Dubai Could Undermine Vote | VoA News

Opposition parties in Zambia are questioning the choice of a Dubai printing company to supply the ballots for the August 11 general election. The electoral commission awarded the contract to the Al Ghurair Printing Company to prepare all ballots to be used, and the government says the printing is complete. But opposition parties, including the United Party for National Development, say the printing of ballots by a company outside the continent is too expensive and could be used by the government to rig the elections. Until this year, ballots for the Zambian elections were printed in South Africa. Jack Mwiimbu, the UPND’s head of legal affairs, said the decision could undermine the integrity of the presidential, legislative and local elections. He also said the party had documentary proof of some Zambians celebrating after the chairman of the electoral commission, Justice Essau Chulu, officially declared that the Dubai company had won the bidding for the ballot job.

Zambia: Opposition Groups Unhappy With Ballot Printer Choice | VoA News

Zambian opposition parties denounced the choice of a Dubai-based company to print election ballots, and suggested that corruption and plans for vote-rigging played a role. The parties reacted after Zambia’s electoral commission announced Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing had won the contract to print the ballots that will be used in the August 11 general election. Jack Mwiimbu, head of legal affairs for the United Party for National Development (UPND), accused the electoral commission of trying to rig the polls for the governing Patriotic Front. He says the party has proof of some Zambians celebrating after the electoral commission announced the contract. He also questioned the cost of the contract — $3.5 million, a figure he says is $2 million higher than what the government paid previously.

Massachusetts: Fight over state’s election ballots | Salem News

A local company that prints the state’s election ballots is calling on the state Inspector General’s Office to conduct an independent review of the procurement and management policies of the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of State. One key issue: Bradford and Bigelow President John D. Galligan says the state owes his company about $575,000 for forcing it to reprint 3.4 million ballots. Galligan charges that the problem is not with the ballots he printed. He says the problem lies with the majority of voting machines used in the state, which he said are an out-of-date technology that is prone to suffer problems. The machines, known as Accuvote, are used in 218 of the commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns, including nearly every local community.

Israel: Arab parties angry that election slip printer is in settlement | Jerusalem Post

The United Arab List expressed disappointment Sunday after the printer of election slips was revealed to be in Karnei Shomron, a settlement in Samaria. “It’s long been clear that the Netanyahu government is the settlement government,” the List’s spokeswoman said. “Are there not enough printers inside the Green Line?” The Central Election Committee confirmed that Israphot Ltd. won the tender to print the slips of paper on which parties’ names and letters representing them are printed and that it is the sole such printer. “They’re Israeli; there’s an Israeli flag there,” a committee spokesman said of the printer.

Missouri: Senate passes cutoff for changes to ballot measures | Kansas City Star

Missouri ballot measures would need to be finalized earlier if legislation passed by the Senate on Thursday is signed into law, an effort to save money on reprinting ballots that last year cost the state close to $680,000. The bill, approved 26-8, would set a deadline to change ballot measures about two months before an election, which is two weeks sooner than the generally accepted standard. Current law allows measures to be finalized at any point within 180 days of an election, although absentee and military ballots must go out about six weeks early. The legislation follows hundreds of thousands of dollars in reprinting expenses after a mid-September court ruling that required last-minute changes to the wording of a proposed constitutional amendment to create a limited early, no-excuses-needed voting period.

California: Vendor glitch won’t delay San Bernardino ballot printing | San Bernardino County Sun

The county has dropped the company it has been using for ballot printing and mailing after the company failed to get new equipment certified by the Secretary of State in time for Monday’s printing launch for the November election. County supervisors, during a special meeting Thursday, voted 3-0, with supervisors Gary Ovitt and Robert Lovingood absent, to approve a purchase order, not to exceed $700,000, with Washington-based K&H Integrated Print Solutions, which the county previously contracted with, county spokesman David Wert said.

Arizona: Peoria checks options for council vote | Daily News Sun

Peoria officials continue to examine their choices for conducting this year’s election for City Council representing the Mesquite District a week after a federal judge ordered ballot counting stopped. The ruling came after a pair of errors by Maricopa County elections officials and the county’s printing firm that left one of the candidate’s names off the ballot. U.S. District Judge David Campbell ordered city and county officials to come up with a voting plan for the sprawling, mostly undeveloped district — Peoria’s largest — after candidate Ken Krieger sought a temporary restraining order preventing the election from continuing. Krieger’s name was left off the original ballot due to an error by county Elections Director Karen Osborne and was omitted from a replacement ballot due to a mistake by the county’s election-ballot printing firm, Runbeck Election Services of Tempe.

Guam: Election board scrutinizes ballot printing process, other poll issues | Marianas Variety

Members of the Guam Election Commission spent nearly two hours yesterday scrutinizing the issues surrounding Saturday’s primary election, one of which was the discovery of misprinted ballots for the partisan election. The misprinted ballots were described as one-sided ballots on which voters could only choose candidates from one particular party. The other side of the misprinted ballots was blank. Correctly printed ballots were to have candidates of the Democratic Party on one side and Republican candidates on the other side. Voters were to vote only for candidates from one party. Joseph Mesa, GEC chairman, yesterday questioned the person in charge of printing the ballots in order to shed light on the issue. Program coordinator Joseph Eseke said that in producing the partisan ballots, the document ran four times in the printers. In setting up the printers, it was revealed that plates sometimes moved affecting the output. Eseke also mentioned the “sensitivity” of the printers in some elements in the ballot document such as the lines and ovals. He said GEC used one printer for the color and one printer for the text, which was black.

South Dakota: Libertarians seek to stop ballot printing | Associated Press

South Dakota’s Libertarian Party asked a federal judge Wednesday to stop Secretary of State Jason Gant from printing November general election ballots without the name of its candidate for the state Public Utilities Commission. Gant last week ruled Ryan Gaddy ineligible to run for the office, saying Gaddy didn’t comply with a state law that requires candidates to be members of the party that nominates them. Gaddy changed his party affiliation from Republican at the Libertarian convention, but the official paperwork wasn’t filed until later. That meant Gaddy was still a Republican at the time of his Libertarian nomination, a violation of state law, according to Gant.

New Jersey: The cost of Christie’s decision | Asbury Park Press

Using New Jersey Office of Legislative Services estimates, Assembly Democrats say that a special primary election and a special general election, as ordered by Gov. Chris Christie, will cost a total of $23.8 million. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said Christie could have saved $11.9 million in taxpayer money by having the special election on the same date as the Nov. 5 general election. The cost estimate is based on two main components: the expenses of the counties and municipalities in administering the election and the salaries of poll workers conducting the election. According to the Division of Elections in the Department of State, the costs for items such as ballot printing and postage, processing, legal advertising, polling place rental and voting machine delivery for a special election would be approximately $6.5 million.

Colorado: Election watchdogs seek to block Boulder County ballot printing | Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall says a new system for numbering ballots would preserve voter anonymity as well as efficiency in tallying election results, and she expects it to pass muster with the Secretary of State’s Office. However, election integrity activists say any “distinguishing marks” on ballots violate the law and open the door to linking individual voters with their ballots. The group Citizen Center has filed a request for a restraining order in federal court to stop the printing of Boulder County’s ballots with distinguishing serial numbers. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Sept. 21. Like other counties who use the Hart Voting System, Boulder County’s ballots have three sets of numbers and bar codes — one that identifies the election, one that identifies the precinct and ballot content (which jurisdictions and ballot questions the voter is voting on) and one that identifies the ballot.

Arizona: Last-ditch try in open-primary fight | Arizona Daily Star

Challengers to the state’s open primary system want another two hours to argue in court there are not enough valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot. Attorney Mike Liburdi told the Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday he was “cut off” on Thursday by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea in the middle of his arguments. He said Rea refused to give him more time even after initiative supporters finished early. “Given the magnitude of the controversy – a proposed constitutional amendment that will fundamentally change the manner in which public officers are elected – it was unreasonable and an abuse of discretion not to provide (challengers) with more time to present their case,” Liburdi argued to the high court.

Voting Blogs: War on Polling Places | Election Diary

It may not be as dramatic sounding as the media’s phrase, “War on Christmas,” or many of the other wars on societal issues, but as we prepare for more elections, we’re reminded of the constant war on polling places. Selecting polling places is a no-win endeavor. For instance, in April 2005, the election featured a question on same-sex marriage.  I received several complaints from voters that some of our polling places were churches, potentially influencing the outcome of this vote. Then, in September 2005, we had a special election for a sales tax that was directed to schools.  I received a similar number of complaints from voters that some of our polling places were schools, potentially influencing the outcome of this vote. We used the same polling places for both elections. Most of our polling places are donated space.  That’s important because one thing I hear often from our county manager is how expensive elections are. They are expensive.  But that expense is relevant if you are comparing the cost to zero.  Merely having an election is expensive because it’s an event for, in our case, 360,000 people.

Illinois: No votes lost to faulty ballots in Illinois primary |

For all the high tech equipment designed to streamline Illinois’ voting process, election officials were forced to improvise — even turning to hair dryers — when scanning machines started spitting out ballots during Tuesday’s primary elections. “There is some irony that … it was scissors and blow dryers that came to the rescue,” said Pete Duncan, the Macoupin County clerk whose workers encountered thousands of faulty ballots. And rescue they did, according to state election officials who said they have no reports of ballots being lost despite problems with thousands of ballots in about 25 of the state’s 102 counties. “The important thing is that nobody was disenfranchised,” said Rupert Borgsmiller, of the Illinois State Board of Elections. “People who voted, it might take a little longer than it normally does, but their votes are being counted.”

Illinois: Winnebago County wants compensation from ballot company | Rockford Register Star

Winnebago County Clerk Margie Mullins wants compensation from the company that created oversized ballots that delayed Tuesday’s election results. She said today she’s gathering data on the extra costs her office incurred when 36 percent of 23,400 ballots cast were too big to fit through counting machines. The error, which amounted to one-sixteenth-inch of extra paper, caused the county to reprint and remake 8,564 ballots from its stockpiled inventory. “I don’t feel that we should pay for any of these ballots from Tuesday’s election, and I want my inventory reimbursed,” Mullins said. “I have a lot of extra staff time and people who came from the city election board of commissioners and other places who I feel should be compensated.”

Illinois: Authorities investigating too-big ballots, hope to avoid repeat of primary problems |

Some counties in Illinois were still adding up primary votes Wednesday because the ballots they used were too big to fit into scanning machines. There were no hanging chads, pregnant chads or even dimpled chads this time, but when it comes to Illinois elections, it always seems to be something getting in the way of a having a flawless Illinois election. Wednesday, authorities in a quarter of all the counties in the state are investigating how some of their paper ballot forms ended up a little too big to fit into the machines that scan the votes. “We are indeed in contact with all of the election authorities that were impacted,” said Illinois State Board of Elections’ Ken Menzel. “We are getting ready to do a good review of exactly what the problem was, what factor or factors combined led us to what we saw yesterday, and we are going to look into ways to avoid both at the production end with the ballots and helping the election authorities put into place procedures that would be more likely to catch out of tolerance ballots.”

Voting Blogs: Paper Cuts are the WORST: Illinois Latest State to Find Out There is No Small Stuff | Election Academy

Years ago, I worked for the U.S. Senate Rules Committee – which, in addition to its legislative responsibilities (including elections!), manages office space on the Senate Office Buildings. In many ways, we were like the landlord of the Senate side of Capitol Hill, and with 100 high-profile tenants with strong personalities there was always something that needed attention. Consequently, we often used the following joke to explain our non-legislative duties: “The good news is that we don’t have to sweat the small stuff; the bad news is that there is no small stuff.” I was reminded of those days recently as I read the stories out of Illinois concerning optical scan ballots that were too wide and thus had to be trimmed by scissors in order to be read by scanners. The problem was traceable to a single printing vendor whose cutting blade was misaligned and left ballots at the top of each shrink-wrapped bundle slightly thicker than ones at the bottom. [Anyone who’s ever tried to cut too many sheets in a paper cutter – leaving the top sheets slightly trapezoidal as the blade moves the sheets – has a sense of what went wrong.]

Illinois: Ballots too wide send election officials scrambling for scissors |

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.

Illinois: Big ballots cause primary problems across Illinois |

A slight blade misalignment in a ballot printing machine stirred up an election day problem Tuesday for a smattering of officials throughout Illinois who reported that as many as several thousand ballots were slightly too wide to fit in the counting machines. Both ballot companies and election supervisors in 25 affected counties worked throughout the morning to fix the problem. By midafternoon they 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 remedy. State and county election officials expected only minor delays in tabulation after the polls closed, only because of a small number of ballots that were cast and placed in locked auxiliary ballot boxes until the polls closed.

Illinois: Ballots too big at Aurora polls; Kane, Kendall sites OK | Aurora Beacon

Mis-sized paper ballots sent out to nearly a quarter of all Illinois counties were creating problems at Aurora polling places Tuesday, forcing some election judges to cut each ballot to size by hand. The problem affected DuPage, Grundy and 22 other counties as well, election officials said. According to Jane Gasperin of the Illinois State Board of Elections, ballots were printed incorrectly by two vendors, and distributed throughout the state. The ballots appear to be about a millimeter too tall, and a millimeter too wide, election judges said. Gasperin said not all precincts in the affected counties have received the mis-sized ballots, but that Tuesday night’s tallying will take longer as a result of the error.

California: Printing the elections: Mail processing’s role in the season Locals say consolidation affects campaigns, ballots | Times-Standard

If the U.S. Postal Service’s proposed mail processing center consolidation is implemented, local officials are concerned about possible repercussions on the upcoming election season. In addition to impacting the timeliness of mail-in votes, the consolidation may also raise the cost of printing and shipping ballots, according to local officials and Times Printing Co., the company that prints local election materials.

Postal Service spokesman James Wigdel said concerns surrounding the election, and others, are being discussed. ”That’s something that we would consider prior to a decision being made about the move,” he said.

At the Dec. 15 meeting regarding the consolidation of the Eureka mail processing center with one in Medford, Ore., Humboldt County Registrar of Voters Carolyn Crnich said the delay in processing could pose a problem for election mailings, especially mail-in ballots. Seventy-two percent of the voters in Humboldt County’s last election voted by mail. Crnich said the delay could mean ballots arriving late and not being counted.