LEE COUNTY — We have a better idea why hundreds of people had their ballots rejected at the polls in Lee County on Tuesday.
The Supervisor of Elections, Tommy Doyle, said he believes the problem was a misprint on the paper ballots that meant the machines couldn’t read them.
Doyle showed us the black mark on the back of one of the ballots that caused the problem. He said his office worked with their vendor as much as possible to keep issues like this from happening, but there were still problems.
“He prints thousands of test ballots for us, and we tested the ballots, we tested the machines, every machine went through the test. Thousands of ballots went through those machines without a problem, and then a hiccup on Election Day," said Doyle.
Doyle said those ballots ended up causing problems at up to 50 different precincts.
“We didn’t want to hold up the line, so we directed the poll workers to go ahead and put it in the emergency bin, and we’d bring them in and tabulate them here so we could keep those lines moving," said Doyle.
Our cameras caught police officers bringing those ballots to election headquarters Tuesday night. Doyle said, on their machines at the main office, they can program them to ignore that little black mark so the ballot can be counted. He said the vendor believes the problem was ultimately with the machinery that was printing the ballots.
“I think his cut lines may have got off when he cropped the ballot. That’s the only thing that we could think was the problem. So in the future, we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again," said Doyle.
At this point, Doyle said the good news is all of those rejected ballots have been counted, but that doesn’t mean counting is over. Doyle said there are close to a thousand mail-in and provisional ballots left to be counted, and he said that should be totally done by Friday.