WASHINGTON (KETK) – Supply chain issues could lead to a shortage of ballots printed for the November elections.
The voting season is at risk as supply chain issues create a struggle to produce paper to election services that need it to print ballots.
Election officials need paper for printed and mail-in ballots and voter registration information.
Texas has already begun to see the effects of the paper shortage. In January, the Texas Secretary of State’s office cited supply chain issues as their reason for limiting the amount of voter registration forms it could give out.
According to officials, paper prices have risen about 40% within the last year and paper mills are having issues distributing due to supply chain delivery congestions.
Runbeck Election Services, a company that prints materials to be used in elections across 23 states and Washington, and can use up to 60 rolls of paper a day, according to a report from CNBC.
With paper deliveries often being delayed, Congress is warning mail-in voters to order their ballots sooner rather than later to ensure they can get one in time for Election Day according to a report form CNBC.
After the shortage of voter registration forms in Texas, many state and local governments placed their orders months in advance to prevent issues, according to reports.
In Louisiana, officials told CNBC that they called every paper mill in North America, not just the U.S., months ahead to prevent shortages. Louisiana’s Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin is calling on the Biden Administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure American paper mills can meet their demands.
“Do we really want to create a supply chain issue or a ballot issue if we can’t get the supplies we need?” Ardoin said. “We’re digging a hole for ourselves in questioning the election, even before we get there.”
The major upcoming deadline for paper deliveries according to officials is Labor Day. Paper is needed to be received by then in order to begin printing for the November elections. Officials are reporting that they have enough paper for what’s planned, but little room for things to go wrong.
Texas’s next election day is Nov. 8 for the midterms, and the last day to register to vote is Oct. 11.