“First I cried, obviously,” said City Blue employee Paul Kieffer, on scene the morning after the fire. “There are no words for it. We expected burned up building, maybe a small fire, but it’s just gone.”
“We’re just baffled we can’t find one piece of equipment that was in there,” the employee added. “There should be stuff there, and there’s not.”
The official page for Ohio’s Carroll County Republican Party suggested in a since-deleted Facebook post that City Blue printed “fake ballots shipped by USPS (United States Postal Service).”
“In other news, the printing facility in Rochester, New York that is suspected of printing the fake ballots shipped by USPS also burnt to [the] ground Christmas morning,” the post read. “Fake news is not reporting on [this] either. This is a coverup of the assault of [domestic] and foreign enemies working in unison to overthrow the will of the people.”
The post was published on Sunday and removed Tuesday; Carroll County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Mangun issued the following message in response:
It has come to my attention that posts have been made to this page that do not reflect the views of the Carroll County Republican Central and Executive Committee. The posts in question were made by an individual without input from the rest of the Committee. Those posts have since been removed, and the issue has been addressed with that individual. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused for the rest of the Committee, our elected officials and our community.
The Associated Press reported in October that about 100,000 absentee ballots were printed with the wrong names and addresses on the return envelopes and sent to voters in Brooklyn, N.Y., noting that “[b]allots returned in envelopes bearing different names would risk being voided.”
“The city’s election board blamed the ballot-printer, Phoenix Graphics of Rochester, N.Y., which said without elaborating that it ‘experienced mechanical-inserting issues’ in what was its first ballot-printing run for the affected counties,” the report noted.
City Blue has denied any connections to ballot printing, posting via Twitter: “NO, we do not do ballot printing. We don’t have the equipment and it’s not a specialty we would be involved with. We are mainly doing blue printing and marketing.”
On Facebook, the company similarly posted: “To the misinformed people on @Twitter and @instagram, #cityblueimaging does not print ballots, does not work for #Pheonix[G]raphics. You may want to read a book someday to learn my reference to rising like a #pheonix.”
City Blue Imaging president Mark Cleary said the night of the fire that he was happy no one was hurt.
“No one got hurt,” he said, according to Spectrum News. “I’m here with my son and some friends and other family members that came to see me. It’s very sad to see this, but I just feel kind of somewhat blessed that no one got hurt and I’m still here on Christmas Eve.”