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In the public interest

Misspelling of ‘public’ forces Michigan county to reprint ballot for $40,000

updated 7:21 p.m. ET Oct. 10, 2006

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Ottawa County will pay about $40,000 to correct an embarrassing typographical error on its Nov. 7 election ballot.

That's how much it will cost the county to reprint 170,000 ballots that were missing the letter "L" in the word "public."

The mistake appeared in the text of a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban some types of affirmative action programs.

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The word "public" was misspelled one of the six times it appears in the text of the ballot issue, county Clerk Daniel C. Krueger said Tuesday. Five or six people in his office proofread the ballot but it was a local election clerk who found the mistake early last week, he said.

"It's just one of those words," Krueger said. "Even after we told people it was in there, they still read over it."

The county already had printed 180,000 ballots and sent out 10,000 of them to absentee voters before the error was noticed. The absentee ballots are valid, said Brooke Slagle, an elections assistant for the county.

"Most of those 10,000 ballots have already been voted and sent back in," Krueger told The Holland Sentinel for a story published Tuesday.

If a printing error is discovered before an election and the mistake changes the context of a ballot item, the ballot needs to be reprinted, he said. The cost will come from the county's general fund.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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