As we approach Election Day 2020, media polling has suggested that Texas is in play, with polls over the past week ranging from a Tie to Trump +4. That state, due to a population increase from out-of-state move-ins, has become more competitive over the last several years, however, each cycle with are promised that we can expect Texas to go blue. Thus far, it has not.
This year promises to be closer than ever and with the news coming out of Texas this morning, you can expect the shenanigans to be kicked into high gear. In Tarrant County, Texas, a county that Trump won by more than 8 points in 2016, they have announced that their ballot sorting and counting machines have an issue counting the ballots as a result of a misprinted barcode on the ballots.
From CBS DFW:
“Ballot scanning machines are rejecting about one-third of mail-in ballots returned by voters in Tarrant County. The problem has impacted more than 22,000 ballots so far.
Ballot board members are now working in 12-hour shifts to accurately replicate the ballots so they can be counted.
County elections administrator Heider Garcia told county commissioners in a meeting Tuesday the problem is with a bar code printed on the ballots, that is not 100-percent legible. Garcia said the problem was discovered Sunday as the ballot board started opening envelopes and putting completed ballots into scanners.”
Did you catch it?
Ballot board members are now working to replicate ballots? Excuse me?
“Ballot replication is done yearly, Garcia said, but not at this volume. The process usually involves ballot board members, from more than one political party, manually filling out a new ballot that matches the one that was damaged or unreadable.
Because of the volume of work, Garcia said in this case an employee will likely use an electronic machine to replicate the ballot. Ballot board members will then compare a print out of those choices, to the original ballot that was sent in, to verify the choices match.”
Are we really supposed to trust the same election officials who screwed this up in the first place, to be able to accurately copy ballots to be fed through the machines? What about anything they have done thus far has earned our trust in doing so? Of course, the Tarrant County election officials have been pointing the finger of blame at Runbeck Election Services, the third-party vendor who printed the ballots. Runbeck issued the following statement:
“We were concerned to learn that some Tarrant County ballots are not able to be scanned properly by Hart Intercivic tabulation machines, as Runbeck Election Services is a certified ballot printer for Hart Intercivic. This election year alone we have printed nearly 100 million ballots, many of which have been the same type of ballot used in Tarrant County, without experiencing any scanning issues. Runbeck Election Services is working with Tarrant County elections officials to investigate if the problem is printing-related or scanning-related. Once the investigation is complete, we will offer our support to all partners and vendors involved to determine the appropriate next steps to ensure that all ballots are properly tabulated.”
Again, are we supposed to believe that a firm that has printed 100 million ballots this year is to blame for the problems created in this single county in Texas?
This is scary, especially in light that we are allowing people to complete new ballots for voters that will be counted. We are supposed to believe this never happens and that we should have 100% trust in the mail-ballot system. 22,000 ballots is a massive amount, so forgive me for not having that confidence in the system.