HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – First on wwlp.com, potential issues with ballots just days before the Presidential Primary. The 22News I-Team discovered that the Secretary of the Commonwealth is reprinting thousands of ballots due to potential issues.
The I-Team found this impacts more than ten communities in western Massachusetts. This includes at least Holyoke, West Springfield, Agawam, Westfield, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Belchertown, Amherst, Easthampton, Great Barrington and Monson. Any community that uses the AccuVote machines, a specific type of machine that voters place their ballots in, will get a second set of official ballots.
The new ballots are expected to be delivered by Wednesday, leaving clerks less than a week to test them out before the primary. The issue is believed to be due to how the ballots were printed. The ballots with potential problems were printed digitally like a photocopy and the new ballots will be printed off-set similar to a printing press. The concern according to an email sent by the Elections Division to Town Clerks, was that some ballots would not be read by the voting machines and there was a potential of the ink smudging.
Another issue will be counting the absentee ballots, which have already been sent out. If they don’t work in the voting machines, they may have to be hand-counted.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin told 22News on Thursday he didn’t know how many communities this impacted and by the time this story was published, his office had not respond to questions by 22News on Friday.
Easthampton City Clerk Barbara LaBombard told 22News she commends the Elections Division for being pro-active and overly cautious in making this decision to have the ballots reprinted.
The 22News I-Team wanted to know who’s responsible for paying for the reprints and the shipping. We have a request in to get all that information and we’ll continue to follow this story.
The primary in Massachusetts is on March 1st.