Since changing election equipment and the manner in which voters make their selections known on their ballot, Phelps County Clerk Pamela Grow said there have been far too many ballots sent in by mail with improper markings.

Voters now have a new format when they fill out their ballots and must color in the oval next to their choice.

Absentee ballots that were mailed in with an ‘X’ or a checkmark next to the voter’s choice had to be converted to “proper ballot markings” by the county’s absentee judges, Grow said.

“Our absentee judges are having to convert far, far too many ballots into properly marked ballots. The machines often will not read the marks that these voters are using, and it is obvious what the voter’s intent is, it just won’t be read by the machine,” Grow said in an email.

Grow added that it takes time and tax dollars for absentee judges to duplicate ballots so the machine can read them.

Grow had noted that 5% of the ballots processed during the 2019 special election in Phelps County had the same “ambiguous markings.”