Poll workers in Dane County will have to recopy votes from thousands of defective absentee ballots during this week’s primary.
A problem with the ballots’ margin has caused trouble feeding the paper through vote-tallying machines, the Wisconsin State Journal reported over the weekend.
“If you think of it like a bar code, if there’s anything interfering with a bar code, (the machine) can’t read it properly, so it just won’t take the ballot,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said.
The county had about 150,000 ballots printed for the Aug. 9 election, anticipating about 20 percent of registered voters will turn out.
Almost all the defective ballots are in Madison wards.
The defective ballots were replaced shortly after the first wave of absentee ballots was mailed, McDonell said, but the number of faulty ballots “is in the thousands.”
Poll workers will open the faulty ballots and mark new ballots with votes that correspond to those cast on the defective ballots, the clerk said. Such a practice is standard procedure when there are problems with the ballot or the voter makes a mistake, he said.
The original ballots also will be kept for comparison in potential recounts.
McDonell said Madison also has completed testing voting machines it’s renting after a July 21 storm flooded voting equipment storage space in the basement of a city-owned mall. The city is using insurance to replace all but one of 98 tabulators and 90 other machines used to assist voters with physical impairments or language barriers.