PRINTING United Alliance Invited to EAC Panel Discussion on Paper Supply Issues

In an effort to raise awareness with election officials about the paper supply shortage and its potential impact on the voting process this year, the 2022 U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Standards Board Annual Meeting hosted a panel discussion which included Jim Suver, senior vice president of business development at Runbeck Election Services, Chris Wlaschin, senior vice president and chief information security officer at Election Systems and Software (ES&S), and Ford Bowers, CEO of PRINTING United Alliance. Present at the April 14th meeting were most of the secretaries of state across the U.S., as well as state representatives of the county election commissions of the more than 3,000 counties who oversee election preparedness.

The message was simple. Supply chain issues have affected paper production as they have every other area of the economy. Adding to the problem is that paper production has been in decline in North America due to the closing of some mills and conversion of other mills to “brown” products. The pandemic has exacerbated an already tight market for materials used in elections and the need for officials to plan sufficiently in advance is greater than it has ever been. They will need to work closely with their print vendors to ensure adequate timelines to produce election materials.

In response to a question from County Clerk Jamie Shew of Douglas County, Kansas, Ford stated that this is not an issue that will resolve itself entirely in the next couple of years, though our industry expects some loosening of supply beginning in Q1 of next year.

You can watch the panel discussion and Ford’s presentation on supply chain issues at the following link: https://youtu.be/rxrd_khRVU4?t=6262.