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Printing company causes 100,000 ballot-reading errors in Santa Clara County

By Erik Silk | 2 Nov 2010

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County workers used erasers to manually correct the smudge errors on every affected ballot. (Photo: Drake Martinet)

Reporter Christina Farr contributed to this report.

Santa Clara County election officials Tuesday shrugged off a printing flaw that
caused some 100,000 ballots to be rejected by optical scanning machines, even as
county employees worked overtime to scrub each and every ballot by hand, using
rubber erasers.

Elma Rosas, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters, said that
even though the majority of mail-in ballots were affected by the printing flaw, the
issue had been largely resolved. “The computers were letting us know there was an
issue,” Rosas said Tuesday night. “We looked at those 100,000, and we just took care
of it.”

Rosas said the vote-counting process would not be negatively affected, and that no
votes were improperly tallied or not taken into account despite the large number of
faulty ballots and the requirement to erase smudges on each ballot by hand.

The county has hired additional workers and has required staff workers to work overtime until the smudges are all gone, Rosas said. According to Rosas, the printing company, ProVoteSolutions of Porterville, has taken full financial responsibility for the extra work required.

“They will have to work longer and extra days, and they will get paid for those hours, but we will bill it to the vendor because it was a printer issue,” Rosas said. “We do have a contract with them, and yes, they will be billed.”

The problem with the faulty ballots was discovered late last week. Rosas said the problem is not expected to delay final election results from the county.

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