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In Georgia, 10,000 Misprint Absentee Ballots to Be Recopied by Hand

Posted: 10/28/08 10:38 AM ET

At least 10,000 absentee voters from Gwinnett County, Ga., used a ballot that was printed with the wrong bubble. Scanners refused to read the heavily-outlined ovals, as the county election officials learned last week during "routine testing."

More than 19,700 misprinted ballots had already been mailed out.

Election officials are going to hand-copy those 10,000 votes -plus any additional that come in onto new ballots that can be scanned successfully.

The County acknowledges that correcting the errors could be "complicated," and will follow strict guidelines in correcting the problem:

- Between 200 and 300 election workers will look at the misprinted ballot and transfer the vote to a second ballot.

- There will be two sets of eyes on each ballot.

Workers will be sequestered throughout the process, with no personal or electronic contacts whatsoever.

Sheriff's deputies and party auditors will be assigned to maintain integrity of vote transfers.

The two-envelope system (an outer one for mailing, an inner one with no identification) assures anonymity of the voters.

The County says it has contacted representatives of both parties. Also contacted was Secretary of State Karen Handel, who is a Republican.

Overwhelmingly middle-class Gwinnett County, located about thirty minutes north of Atlanta, has voted Republican -- with few exceptions -- since 1990 in presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial elections.

Lynn Ledford, director of Voter Registration and Elections for the county claimed the error "was not apparent to the naked eye," and that registrars aren't required to test their absentee ballots until three days before an election. She did so several weeks in advance.

It would seem that running the ballot through a scanner before printing [20,000?] of them would be a matter of policy. The County won't be able to tally the cost of this mistake until well after the election, depending on the number of "bad" ballots they receive.