Bastrop County Elections Department out $12,300 after Texas Supreme Court ballot correction

Bastrop County

Stacks of ballot envelopes waiting to be mailed are seen at the Wake County Board of Elections in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A last-minute ballot change is costing the Bastrop County Elections Department more than $12,000 and delaying the mailing of thousands of ballots to voters.

On Tuesday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled ballots for the Nov. 3 election are required to add three Green Party candidates.

This comes after Democrats successfully sued to remove the Green Party nominees for U.S. Senate, Railroad Commission and the 21st Congressional District from the ballot, the Texas Tribune reports. The candidates had not paid filing fees or submitted a petition of signatures instead, which is required for Democratic, Republican and local candidates to be placed on the November Ballot. The Green Party appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court earlier this month.

As a result of the ruling, Bastrop County Elections is working to reprint emergency ballots before they are required to be sent to overseas and military voters by Saturday.

The department said regular mail-in ballots have not been sent out yet, so no voter has gotten a bad one. However, the mailing of those ballots will be delayed because of the correction.

Ballots already printed will be destroyed Monday at the department’s location on Pecan Street. Bastrop County Elections said the estimated cost of destroying the old ballots and reprinting new ones is $12,300.

Other counties affected

According to Travis County, the Texas Secretary of State did not warn any counties to expect the possibility of a late ballot name change, “catching most counties off-guard.”

“Travis County got lucky this time,” Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir wrote in a release. “The County Clerk received unofficial information that this late ballot change was a possibility on Sunday morning, and we were able to stop the presses.”

DeBeauvoir said 10,000 ballots were already printed out of a total 180,000 mail-in ballots. She said the county worked Tuesday night to reconstruct the ballots and believes by running two shifts of election workers, it will be able to meet the federal deadline to send out the ballots.

“The County Clerk suggests that allowing candidates who don’t pay the required filing fee to gain access to the ballot is a matter of fairness among all candidates,” DeBeauvoir said. “Allowing late admission to the ballot for these candidates furthers the unfairness, increases county costs to conduct the election, and disrupts the careful flow of proofing and testing necessary for assuring correctness of all ballot materials.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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