Milwaukee County Trashes 450K Printed Election Ballots

MILWAUKEE—A communication breakdown has apparently prompted Milwaukee County to waste 450,000 election ballots because they were printed with more modern optical scanners in mind than the ones actually being used, according to WISN Milwaukee. What is not clear is where the blame lies for the incorrect specs.

The Milwaukee County Election Commission contracted Burton & Mayer of Menomonee Falls, WI, to print the ballots. The specs used by the printer were for newer optical scanners than the ones that are being used in Milwaukee County. Election Commission Manager Lisa Weiner told WISN that the problem lies with the placement of the arrows that voters fill in to cast their votes. However, Weiner said she wasn’t pointing fingers at Burton & Mayer.

The Commission then turned to The Marek Group of Waukesha, WI, to do a no-bid, emergency print run. It consisted of more than 450 ballot styles and a different ballot for every ward in the county, WISN reported.

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  • DGR

    When reviewing print specifications, savvy printers inquire as to the use and function of the document prior to producing anything. For example, when producing a direct mail piece, is important to know and apply USPS specifications, i.e. aspect ratio, window position, clear areas, etc. When producing a package insert, the printer must understand usage including and not limited to stock, size, special packaging, special inks, etc. An insert that will be in direct contact with food may require specific paper attributes and inks. If the document will be used in subsequent manufacturing processes, it must function efficiently. With respect to ballots, the document must reliably and consistently perform it’s function every time. The Client too has an implicit responsibility to inform the printer of the use, expected aims and functions.