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Printing error delays counting of 13,500 votes in SC county

November 3, 2020 GMT

ST. GEORGE, S.C. (AP) — The counting of more than 13,000 votes in one South Carolina county will be delayed because of a printing error.

The mail-in ballots in Dorchester County did not have the proper bars, called “timing marks” printed at the top so the scanner used to count votes can’t register them, Dorchester County Election Commissioner Todd Billman said at a news conference Tuesday.

The error won’t affect anyone’s vote, Billman said.

After regular votes are counted, Billman said election workers will make a copy of all the ballots that can’t be scanned, then take those copies and manually enter the votes into an election machine to be tallied.

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The new votes will then be compared to the original ballots to make sure they match, according to the official.

Billman wouldn’t say how long that might take but added that Dorchester County’s full results will be finished by the Friday deadline to certify returns.

“This issue will not prevent any vote from being counted,” Billman said. “All it will do is take it a little longer to get your ballet to count.”

More than 63,000 votes were cast in Dorchester County in the 2016 election and more than 2 million votes were cast across South Carolina in 2016.

Results in the U.S. House races between Rep. Joe Cunningham and Republican challenger Nancy Mace as well as Rep. Jim Clyburn and Republican challenger John McCollum may both be delayed by the unscanned ballots.

The same company that improperly printed the Dorchester County ballots also printed others across South Carolina, but Billman and state election officials said no other counties were affected.