A few days later, the National Association of Presort Mailers held a teleconference for vendors across the country that are in the niche business of printing and packaging bulk mail, including mail-in ballots. They specialize in details like ensuring that the paper for the ballots and envelopes is certified so the ink printed on it will scan correctly.
On the call, according to the news site Talking Points Memo, companies warned that they were already at capacity for November, filling orders from longtime vote-by-mail states like California and Colorado. They could expand, but they would need to buy costly equipment that takes several months to obtain, a step they would only take with orders from states and counties in hand. “For example, the machine that folds and inserts the ballot into the envelope can cost up to $1 million,” Richard Gebbie, chief executive of Midwest Presort Mailing Services and president of the national association, told me. “It normally takes 90 days to order one piece of gear. Then you have to get it installed and check everything, because the security and quality control has to be very, very high.” Gebbie’s company has been contacting county boards of election in the region, including in Pennsylvania, but he says so far it has received a cool response. “I think with the Covid, they’re not sure what they can do. We have one county in Pennsylvania, Mercer, that said, Let’s get a quote. The others said, Call us back in a month. The Catch-22 is: That could be too late.”
At Midwest Direct, many of these are problems we have already faced and overcome while navigating the previous mail-in elections. Over the last six months, Midwest Direct has served over 36 counties with more than 5 million ballots, and in 2019, we created, produced, and delivered over two million ballots for over 35 Ohio counties. We know this can be challenging in “normal” election cycles. Election 2020 brings with it all the regular challenges along with new urgency, regulations, and demand. Now, more than ever, you need an experienced ballot partner to guide you through the process.
Learn more about the difficulties the country faces with Vote-By-Mail and how Midwest Direct is prepared to help you overcome these challenges.