Winnebago County will be reimbursed for the extra labor and material costs during the March primaries as election judges and employees scrambled to reprint more than 8,500 oversized ballots. Clerk Margie Mullins met Tuesday with Larry Mandel, president of GBS, the Lisle company that supplied the ballots, which were one-sixteenth of an inch too large to fit through counting machines. GBS agreed to replenish the stockpiled inventory the county had to use on Election Day to print new ballots, credit the county’s next printing bill and pay a small cash sum to compensate people who worked well into the night of the election and the following day reprinting the ballots, Mullins said. Mullins couldn’t say Wednesday the exact expense in labor and supplies the county incurred because of the error, but said she is pleased her office will be compensated. Mandel “told me that they just want to get everybody involved in this taken care of to the best of their ability and close the book on this and go forward from here,” Mullins said.
Nearly a quarter of Illinois’ 102 counties discovered that some ballots were too large for scanners. The error was made by ABS Graphics, a suburban Chicago company that supplies GBS. Winnebago County had to reprint and remake 8,564 ballots, about 36 percent of the total cast, from its stockpiled inventory. Mullins will visit ABS in the coming weeks to talk with officials about how and why things went wrong. “Unfortunately the company didn’t make sure everything was running properly,” she said. “They’ve been open and upfront about the mistake, and I appreciate that.”