There’s flawed absentee ballots in Gwinnett and lots of ’em:
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.
Here’s how the ballots will be counted:
Votes on incorrect forms will be counted using a manual process observed by a representative of each political party and a monitor from the Secretary of State’s office. Non-partisan candidates will also be allowed a monitor. State law requires that all participants be sequestered with no outside contact until after polls close on Election Day in order to prevent information leaks.
Unreadable ballots will be duplicated in accordance with state law so they can be scanned and the copy will then be stored with the original in case a recount is necessary.
Voters submit absentee ballots in two envelopes, so the identity of any individual voter will not be known once the outer envelope is removed. Election workers will tabulate and post the votes as usual after the polls have closed on Election Day. No delayed results are expected.