Election official: Paper shortage won’t impact NM ballots

Election workers with the Santa Fe County Clerk’s Office sort through mail-in ballots in this June file photo. A global paper shortage has delayed ballot mailings in some parts of the country, but a senior New Mexico election official said state vendors secured enough paper to run November’s general election. no problem. (Eddie Moore/Diary)

SANTA FE — A global paper shortage has raised concerns across the country about whether enough ballots can be printed — and obtained in time — to run this fall’s election.

But a senior New Mexico election official said the paper shortage shouldn’t cause problems for county clerks in the state.

Specifically, Under Secretary of State Sharon Pino said the state’s two outside ballot vendors assured state officials that they had a sufficient supply of paper to conduct the election. General of November 8.

“We’re lucky here in New Mexico,” Pino told the Journal.

The paper shortage is due to a decline in paper production in the United States in recent years and supply chain issues, according to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The report says paper orders that previously took days or weeks now take months to process, while costs have risen by 40% or more in some cases.

Transportation issues have also played a role in the paper shortage, with the American Trucking Association predicting that the current shortage of truckers will worsen over the next decade.

Some election officials across the country have already reported long delays in their attempts to secure ballots and envelopes ahead of election dates, with part of the problem stemming from the fact that ballots are typically printed on paper. high quality.

Since 2006, New Mexico has used a paper ballot system that requires most voters to manually mark ballots and feed them into electronic vote tabulators. The system allows poll workers to recount ballots in some cases.

Under state law, county clerks conduct elections in New Mexico, but the state is required to pay all associated costs, including printing ballots and paying election workers. .

Meanwhile, the two vendors the state currently contracts with to provide printed ballots and other materials are Automated Election Services, a Rio Rancho company, and Illinois-based Robis Elections.

Absentee voting is scheduled to begin Oct. 11 around New Mexico, though ballots for some service members stationed overseas are being sent out even earlier.

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