Some Tarrant County mail-in ballots being rejected by scanners due to substandard printing job by vendor


There seems to be an issue with thousands of mail-in ballots in Tarrant County.

"As they've been scanned and imaged to get ready for counting ... we started noticing about a third of them were being rejected by the scanners when they were imaged," Tarant County Elections Administrator Heider Garcia told the Commissioners Court Tuesday morning.

Garcia is blaming the issue on a substandard printing job by the printing vendor.

"What we believe at this point is that the print shop that did these ballots for us can improve the quality of the printing," Garcia told the Commissioners Court, "because those barcodes are not 100% legible 100% of the time to the scanner."

As a result, those ballots will need to be replicated onto clean ballots so that they can be scanned and counted.

"Members of both parties sit down, and they copy from this to a blank copy so that it can be scanned and counted," says Garcia. "Our goal here is to make sure we don't improvise but protect the integrity of the ballot and follow the process outlined in the law, which is to use the remake to correct defective ballots that cannot be counted in the automated way."

Garcia says the process is clearly spelled out in the law, and it's not a novel concept for this year.

"We're not seeing a problem that has never been seen," Garcia says. "We're not improvising a solution that has never been tried. And it's clearly identified in the law not just what the process is, but who has to do it and how to guarantee the integrity of the ballot."

While the issue will require an increase in manpower, Garcia says he does not envision it causing a delay in reporting the results.

"That's going to increase our time at the office and the ballot box. We believe we have enough time and resources to do this in the timeframe we have," says Garcia. "If we have 60,000 ballots and two thirds are being accepted, that means 40,000 ballots at least, plus everything we remake and duplicate ... is going to be posted on election night."