Late last week, the Buncombe County Board of Elections discovered that a municipal heading was missing on about 900 absentee ballots that had been mailed to voters in the county. The ballot printing vendor was immediately contacted, and the issue was corrected for all ballots moving forward. Any ballot postmarked after Sept. 15, 2022, has correct headers and is not impacted.
Buncombe County Election Services is issuing replacement ballots to the affected voters, along with an explanation letter. Buncombe County Election Services is asking these voters to submit the replacement ballot, even if they already returned the first ballot. The first ballot has been canceled, and upon receipt of the corrected ballot, the voter’s record will be updated, ensuring that only one ballot is counted per voter.
The absence of a heading on a ballot in no way affects the tabulation of the ballot, as headings are only for contest identification. This issue occurred as a result of human error by Printelect, the North Carolina ballot printer for Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Buncombe County’s voting equipment vendor. ES&S has committed to putting additional procedures in place to ensure this does not happen again.
“Our community can rest assured that every voter will get their correct ballot, and our team is dedicated to the ease and security of the election,” said Director of Election Services Corinne Duncan. “We are appreciative of our vendor for helping to remediate this quickly.”
Absentee ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Nov. 8, 2022, and received by Nov. 14, 2022. Absentee ballots may also be returned to any early voting site or the Buncombe County Election Services office by 5 p.m. on Nov. 8, 2022. Absentee ballots cannot be returned to polling locations on Election Day. For more information, go to buncombecounty.org/vote.