FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County may have fewer problem mail-in ballots than it first estimated, revising the number to as many as 12,000, down from 22,000 earlier this week.
Over the last two days, ballot scanning machines have not been able to read about one in five ballots, according to elections administrator Heider Garcia.
Ballot board members are still working 12 hours a day to replicate the problem ballots and have them scanned and counted by election night.
Garcia said his office had been in contact with Runbeck Election Services, the Arizona company that printed the ballots for the county for the first time.
Figuring out what the problem is though, is complex Garcia said, and complicated by security and election laws surrounded the completed ballots.
The county is not legally able to take any pictures of the problem ballots, or send any samples of them to Runbeck.
The county opened eight additional early voting sites Thursday for what are traditionally the busiest days of early voting.
Turnout was actually slower than the initial surge when polls opened two weeks ago, but the count was still on pace to surpass total turnout from 2016 before early voting closes.
“If it spikes, great, we’re prepared for it,” he said. “If it doesn’t, I’m hoping it means those interested in voting already did and they’re not waiting for Friday evening.”
Garcia said emergency poll worker teams are on standby in case any additional sites are forced to close from a positive COVID-19 case.
If it happens on election day, he said the process will be the same as it has during early voting.
The voting center would close, be cleaned and a new crew would come in.
The move to voting centers, where voters can vote at any location in the county, makes a potential closure easier to manage than if people were still assigned to specific precincts.
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