Palm Beach County Dogged By Ballot Printing Problems

Oct 31, 2012

Credit Christine DiMattei

State election officials say they're keeping an eye on Palm Beach County's operations, after a second printing mishap involving absentee ballots.

The first blunder involved 27,000 absentee ballots with a header missing above the judicial races.  The ballots can't be read by Palm Beach County's vote tabulation machines, so election office workers are copying out those forms by hand onto new ballots.

But now a second printing error uncovered this week forced the office to mail out replacement absentee ballots to about 500 voters.  On those ballots, one proposed constitutional amendment was missing and three other amendments were printed twice. 

The Florida Department of State is sending its  voting certification experts to Palm Beach County to monitor operations. But the Department's spokesman Chris Cate says election offices in other counties will also be visited.

"Later this week, we'll actually have about eight of our employees going around the state, visiting different counties, offering our assistance, just checking in, just making sure the election processes around the state are going smoothly," says Cate. 

State election officials say the biggest problems with absentee ballots arise when voters forget to sign the forms or when signatures on ballots don't match the ones election officials have on file. There are more than 11 million registered voters in Florida.  Nearly 1.5 million have already voted by absentee ballot.