State Watch

Texas county to rescan more than 20K ballots after barcode issue

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Officials in Tarrant County, Texas, on Tuesday said they will have to replicate more than 20,000 ballots after issues with ballot-scanning machines had led to them being rejected, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported on Tuesday.

The 22,000 rejected ballots represent just a portion of the 570,000 people who have already voted in the county ahead of the Nov. 3 election, according to data from the Texas Department of State. More than 57,000 of those were mail-in ballots.

Tarrant County elections administrator Heider Garcia said in a meeting with county commissioners that on Sunday they discovered that a barcode printed on a number of ballots was not completely legible, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

To remedy the issue, officials will have to replicate the ballots. Garcia said employees will use an electronic machine with the affected ballots, according to the news outlet. The choices on that ballot will be compared to the original to confirm that they match. 

The Hill has reached out to Tarrant County for comment. 

Mail-in ballots have become a hot-button issue for the Nov. 3 election as more voters have turned to the method over fears of contracting the coronavirus if they were to go to the polls.

More 7.8 million ballots have already been cast in Texas through early voting or mail-in voting as of Monday, representing 46 percent of eligible voters. For reference, 59 percent of all registered Texas voters voted in 2016.

Texas has historically voted for Republican presidential candidates. The last Democratic candidate to win the state was former President Carter in 1976.

Polls from the Lone Star State have shown a tight contest between Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Trump. The RealClearPolitics average of polls has Trump up by just 2.6 points in the state after winning the state by 9 points in 2016.

Other states have faced their own issues in dealing with the influx in early voting and mail-in voting.

Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, for instance, had to resend nearly 29,000 ballots after a printing error led to voters receiving incorrect ballots.

And in Ohio, the Franklin County Board of Elections had to resend nearly 50,000 ballots after someone changed a setting on a machine that places absentee ballots into mailing envelopes. 

Tags battleground Donald Trump Early voting Joe Biden mail-in voting Ohio Pennsylvania swing states Texas

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