If you received a Deschutes County ballot in the mail, it came from Bend Mailing Services.
For more than a decade, ballots for Deschutes County elections were mailed out of Portland. But in April, Bend Mailing took on the task. The Bend company now mails Deschutes County's 100,000 ballots each election and has plans to mail ballots for more Oregon counties, as well as absentee ballots for other states.
Doing ballots is a complicated process because of the needed security, accuracy and verification, said Sam Di Spaltro, co-owner of the family-owned mailing business. And to get the job done, he said the company has leased a 9,000-square-foot building on Veterans Way in Redmond — strictly for ballots.
“You can only get into that building if you are part of the ballot system,” he said.
The company, which started in 1997, sends out bulk mail across the globe and performs paper billing services through online billing technology out of its space on Southeast Paiute Way in Bend. He said the company processes and mails about 900,000 paper and 70,000 paperless statements a month.
“We needed the additional room and security to be able to process, insert and mail ballots,” he said.
Deschutes County Clerk Nancy Blankenship said the county made the switch because it was a cost-effective change that kept the process local. She said Ryder Graphics, located on Southwest Columbia Street in Bend, has been printing ballots for the county for more than 15 years.
“The prices were close enough to what we were spending going across the mountain, and then our folks don't have to travel,” Blankenship said. “It was just a win-win.”
Inside the ballot packet comes a ballot, a secrecy envelope and a return envelope, according to the Deschutes County website.
Michael Holroyd, operations supervisor for Bend Mailing, said counties use barcodes on the return envelopes that voters sign to identify the voters. During the mailing process, he said Bend Mailing verifies the accuracy of those barcodes with a digital scanner. In addition, he said the company prints 2-D barcodes on return envelopes to ensure every ballot is mailed, and only mailed once.
Bend Mailing does a lot of the checking, double- and triple-checking, said Di Spaltro.
“Everything that we do is based on security for those ballots,” Di Spaltro said. “To make sure that they get out, to make sure all the security measures are in place so only one ballot goes to each person.”