Voting Blogs: Voted Ballots ‘Remade’ by Election Workers in Wisconsin After Being Printed Too Wide for Optical-Scanners | BradBlog

During yesterday’s Wisconsin primary election, a number of paper ballots were sent out in several counties that were reportedly too wide to be tabulated by the computerized optical-scan systems used to tally ballots in the state. The same exact thing happened just two weeks ago during the Illinois primary sending election officials into a panic and causing delays for some voters. Then, as now, the problem has been chalked up to a paper-cutting error by the printers. Perhaps that’s true, perhaps it’s not. We’ll take them at their word, barring evidence to the contrary. Innocent errors can and do happen. But whether that’s an accurate explanation or not, one way in which the failure was dealt with in both Illinois and Wisconsin continues to be extremely troubling and, frankly, offense: the practice of election workers manually “remaking” the ballots of voters after the election, in ostensible secret, and before they are tabulated.

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.