Dorchester County reports printing error delaying absentee mail-in ballots

Dorchester County News

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – All 15,000 mail-in ballots in Dorchester County are affected by a printing issue. That means it will take longer than expected to count the 13,500 ballots that have been returned so far.

The printing issue comes in the form of the size of what’s called the timing mark on the ballot. These small dashes printed on the top of each ballot are the incorrect size therefore the scanning machines can’t read the ballots.

The printing issue won’t allow the ballots to be scanned, therefore Dorchester County election officials are trying to figure out the best solution.

One option is to attempt to fix the printing issue by printing on top of the current ballots to make the timing marks thicker. The other option is to have workers manually count each ballot.

The Executive Director of Dorchester County Elections, Todd Billman, says regardless of the way the ballots are counted, the process will be complete by the deadline of Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Billman says he has spoken with the South Carolina Election Commission and out of all 46 counties in the state, Dorchester County is the only one experiencing the issue.

In the photo, the top ballot with the smaller dashes is how they were printed; however, the dashes should look like the ballot on the bottom. The county says the sample ballots were printed correctly but the official ballots were printed incorrectly.

News 2 has been told the vendor who printed these ballots also printed for several other counties, but Dorchester County is the only one with the issue according to the South Carolina Election Commission.

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