FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County’s election board brought on more than 50 new people Monday, in an effort to keep up with thousands of problem mail-in ballots.

The number of problem ballots, which ballot scanning machines are unable to read, could be as high as 18,000 according to the latest estimate from Elections Administrator Heider Garcia.

An 80-person early voting ballot board had hoped to be able to replicate and count the ballots in time to be included with the count when polls close Tuesday night.

However, concerns over COVID-19 have kept a number of them from participating in the process.

Late Monday, Governor Greg Abbott called on county Republicans to volunteer as poll watchers to make sure the ballots are properly processed.

In the emergency meeting Monday, Nov. 2, to approve the additional names, Garcia did not want to provide an estimate of when the ballots might be replicated.

“If it’s slow and steady, but everybody has this level of trust, then so be it. We’ll be slow and steady and right,” he said.

The delayed count likely won’t have a major impact on the large races Garcia explained, as the problem ballots represent between 2% and 3% of the total early vote.

It may impact smaller races though, waiting for a result.

Tarrant County ballot scanner (CBS 11)

Garcia said ballot board members were trying to evenly open and scan ballots from the county’s different precincts, so that there wouldn’t be a large, un-scanned number from any one particular area.

About 3,200 of the problem ballots have been replicated so far.

The process consists of a worker marking the choices from the problem ballot on an electronic voting machine.

The choices are then verified by at least two ballot board members, from different parties, before the ballot is approved.

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