FORT WORTH, Texas - Tarrant County elections officials have started the process of correcting a problem with mail-in ballots that couldn't be scanned because of a printing error.
Roughly a third of the mail-in ballots received have bar codes that are unreadable by the county’s high tech scanner due to substandard printing, the Tarrant County Elections Office revealed Tuesday.
Ballot board members are rotating shifts to copy those faulty bar code ballots so they are ultimately scanned and counted. They’re working in pairs. Each person is from a different party: Republican, Democrat or Libertarian.
Tarrant County GOP Chair Rick Barnes says he was present Wednesday at election headquarters along with the party’s legal counsel just to observe the process. He says ballot integrity is the goal.
“Everybody that touches it after that puts that ballot at risk. Not so much for fraud. That’s not our concern at all in this conversation. Our concern here is from the position of making mistakes,” Barnes said. “When we start duplicating ballots, the last thing we want to do is start making mistakes in the process of changing that person’s intent. And so that’s our bottom line, and it’s been our bottom line in the conversation since the very beginning.”
"Our party takes the sanctity of the vote and ballot integrity very seriously, so we are very grateful to Tarrant County Elections for uncovering this issue and immediately alerting us and allowing our party along with the Tarrant County GOP to be part of the discussion to resolve it," the Tarrant County Democratic Party said in a statement. "We are comfortable and confident that all ballots will be counted."
FOX 4 reached out to the Tarrant County Libertarian Party as well, but it has not responded.
The printing company responded in a statement saying: “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.”
The company based in Phoenix, Arizona and released the statement through its PR firm.
Tarrant County officials say they were too busy to grant an interview.