Bar-code error in Texas county causes more than 22,000 mail-in ballots to be rejected

by Joel Abbott · Oct 28th, 2020 11:42 am

Last Updated Oct 30th, 2020 at 9:11 am

More than a third of mail-in ballots have been rejected by scanning machines in Tarrant County, Texas, affecting over 22,000 votes so far.

County elections administrator Heider Garcia said Tuesday that the problem is with improperly printed bar codes that the machines have struggled to read clearly.

"What we believe at this point, is that the print shop that did these ballots for us, basically, can improve the quality of the printing," said Garcia.

While issues with mail-in ballots are seen every election, Garcia indicated that the volume this year has led to issues. To correct the problem, ballot board members are working in 12-hour shifts to replicate and scan the ballots.

Tarrant County has had over 57,000 mail-in votes to date, compared to more than 512,000 in-person votes.

This was the first year that Tarrant County outsourced ballot printing, working with a company called Runbeck Election Services in Phoenix, Arizona. This change was specifically made to assist with the increase in mail-in voting in 2020.

Garcia said employees will use an electronic machine to replicate the ballots and then submit them for individual review to ballot board members. The board members will verify that a print out of both ballots match.

Runbeck Elections Services issued a statement after the problem was announced, saying they would investigate and offer their support to "ensure that all ballots are properly tabulated."


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