FORT WORTH, Texas - With five days until Election Day, Tarrant County election officials are confident they have their mail-in ballot issue under control.
Tarrant County's election chief says things look more manageable with an identified printing and barcode dilemma with mail-in ballots. That means election night results should not be delayed.
If projections are on target, 55% of Tarrant County voters will have cast ballots before Election Day.
“On the busy, busy days, we were getting 5,000 people an hour in the morning,” explained Tarrant County Elections Administer Heider Garcia.
That heavy turnout in part prompted the addition of eight new polling locations for the final two days of early voting. Central Arlington was one area with added voting booths inside the Dan Dipert Career and Tech Center.
“I think the rate we’re going, even if it ends up being too slow days, we will get over the 600,000 number plus the absentees,” Garcia said.
And that absentee process now with better projections surrounding how many mail-in ballots are coming back with faulty bar codes that require manual work.
“When we started with the first batches, it was about a third of them. Now we’re seeing about 20%,” Garcia explained.
The ballot board of more than 80 people includes Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. They're working 12-hours shifts to remake each affected ballot before its counted.
“If this pattern stays, that means we just ran into a lot of them early in the process and it’s going to keep going down as we move forward,” Garcia said.
Now as Nov. 3 looms with a predicted record turnout, Garcia says Tarrant County is poised to have nearly every vote counted and reported by the time the polls close on election night.
“People who are worried about election night results, are we going to get them? Yes. Maybe 99.9% because there are 500 pending their remake. Yes, you will get most of them if not to say all of them.”
As of Friday, more than 600,000 ballots have been cast. That’s nearly a 51% turnout.