Spoiled absentee ballots sent last week are being resolved

GENESEE COUNTY — The Genesee County clerk’s office ensures the 14,000 spoiled absentee ballots sent out last week will not be an issue come election day.

County Clerk John Gleason said the ballots included several identifiable mistakes, including incorrect cutting, smudging on the sides and the wrong coloration of numbers. The errors make it impossible for the ballots to be read by the counting machines.

Gleason refused to name the printer responsible, but he said the county has worked in conjunction with the company for years. In total, 300,000 faulty ballots need to be re-printed, with 22 municipalities affected. Davison, Burton, Mundy Township, Flint and Fenton Township voters had not yet been mailed the ballots.

“There has never been an election where this hasn’t happened to some ballots,” said Gleason during a press conference.

Absentee voters who did receive the spoiled ballots will be sent new ones with an enclosed letter explaining the issue. Recipients are encouraged to turn in the second ballot to the clerk’s office, even if the first was already returned.

Individuals who do not turn in the second ballot will have their votes hand-counted election night, which could cause a significant delay in processing results.

Local communities, some Gleason said are “strapped for money,” pay for their own printing and postage. The total cost for the mishap is somewhere around $340,000. When asked if there will be any lawsuits forthcoming, Gleason said “I don’t know how there can’t be.”

The county has switched companies for re-printing.

“The foundation of Democracy is your vote,” said Gleason. “You must get the ballots right.”

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