About one-third of the absentee ballots cast so far in the county surrounding Fort Worth, Texas, are being rejected by vote-counting machines because of a printing defect, but the votes will all be counted the local election administrator says.
Tarrant County administrator Heider Garcia told county commissioners Tuesday the issue involves Phoeniz, Arizona-based Runbeck Election Services, which printed some of the ballots with an illegible bar code.
Regardless, Garcia has said ballot board members are working 12-hour shifts to replicate the ballots so they can be counted.
The issue of ballots being rejected by machines is not new, Garcia said, but the volume of the ballots is.
This is the first year Tarrant County used a vendor to produce the ballots instead of printing them in house, which was done due to the anticipated increase in demand.
The rejected ballots will be replicated, either manually or by a machine, by ballot board members from more than one political party, Garcia said.
“This election year alone we have printed nearly 100 million ballots, many of which have been the same type of ballot used in Tarrant County, without experiencing any scanning issues,” Runbeck said in a statement.
Tarrant County, with a population of 2.1 million, is a traditionally Republican-leaning county. President Donald Trump won the county with 51.7% of the vote in 2016. Republican candidates for president have won the vote in Tarrant County in every election since 1964, when Texas native Lyndon Johnson won.
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