The Ballot Shortage Problem is Fixed For Now...But What About Election Day?

MAY 10, 2006 -- POSTED AT 11:00 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Ballot shortages have been a major problem with early voting across the State of Arkansas . Monday some precincts ran completely out and by Tuesday morning, they only received a small shipment, but where do they stand now on the ballot count?

“We have received two shipments from E.S.and S. A small partial shipment on Tuesday and then the remainder this morning, so as far as early and absentee voting goes, we are in good shape,” says Brandy Brown, one of Craighead County ’s Election Commissioners.

We spoke with an official at the E.S.and S. Headquarters in Omaha , Nebraska , where the actual ballots are printed. We asked them about the ballot shortages across the state and what he said was surprising.

"I'm not aware of any shortages of ballots during early voting," says Ken Fields, an executive representative of E.S. and S.

Craighead County Election Commissioners told us Monday they've spoken with the E.S.and S. employees numerous times and made them fully aware of the problem, but apparently the word isn't being passed along to their headquarters. He did assure us they were doing everything to fix any problems now and in the future.

"Right now we're really focused on addressing the needs of the counties. We'll definitely look back at the situation later on after the election to determine what if anything can be done to improve our performance and make the process run more smoothly for the counties," says Ken Fields, with E.S.and S.

Craighead County may be set for now with early and absentee ballots, but the actual Election Day ballots have yet to arrive, and the order numbers are much greater.

We asked E.S.and S. about the upcoming situation and they seemed to be fully aware.

"Typically early voting requires a much smaller number of ballots than would be necessary for the election," says Fields.

Nonetheless, the smaller order of ballots arrived days late for early voting, and the biggest question, is will they be prepared for election day, a day that the ballots simply can't be late.

"Hopefully that's not going to be the case, but if it is we'll have to take it up with

E.S.and S. early next week," says Brandy Brown, Craighead County Election Commissioner.