23 October 2008

10,000 absentee ballots in Gwinnett are flawed

Votes will have to be transferred to new ballots

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - October 23, 2008

Gwinnett County elections officials will have to hand-copy votes from at least 10,000 absentee ballots onto new ballots that can be read by a machine.

The original ballots, designed to be filled out by hand, are flawed because of a printing error. The circle beside the candidate’s name is too thick and somewhat misshapen, and consequently an optical scanning machine won’t be able to read the votes on Election Day.

The county discovered the problem last week during routine testing.

Gwinnett had already mailed out 19,700 flawed ballots before it realized the problem.

Of those, 10,000 have already been marked and sent back by voters, said Lynn Ledford director of Voter Registration and Elections for Gwinnett County.

The printing mistake was not apparent to the naked eye, Ledford said.

The elections office will now have to transfer the votes from those 10,000 ballots onto new ballots so an optical scanning machine can read them, Ledford said. If more of the flawed ballots come back, that number will increase.

County spokesman Joe Sorenson said correcting the errors could be complicated.

“[Election workers] are going to have to take the bad ballots, take a look at what each choice is, and mark that choice for the second ballot,” Sorenson said. “There will be two sets of eyes on each ballot.”


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