BY LINDA BAKER
Nothing is certain but death and taxes — and elections. That’s the kind of spin Scott Ryder, general manager for Bend-based Ryder Election Services, might put on the old Ben Franklin aphorism. The 110-year-old company prints the majority of the ballots for Oregon elections, servicing 32 out of 36 counties. Ryder also sells and services the machines that count those ballots. “There are a certain amount of elections a year,” says Ryder, who is also president of sister company Ryder Graphics. “It’s something you can count on.”
A fourth-generation family business, Ryder Election Services was part of Ryder Graphics until last year, when the two companies split to help ease Ryder’s father, Tom, now the owner of Ryder Election Services, into retirement. Founded in 1902, the company prints ballots for two statewide elections — 1.8 million ballots per election — during even years and up to four local elections during odd years. Counties are not required to bid on ballot printing, and Ryder says he maintains his business “by offering superior customer service, a very high quality product and competitive pricing.”
As elections become more contentious, interest in the security of the printing and counting process has increased, says Ryder, who occasionally fields calls from special-interest groups requesting information about who services the scanning machines (manufactured by ES&S in Omaha, Neb.) and what happens to the ballots after they are printed. “It’s always been our policy to be as open as we can,” says Ryder. “There’s never a step in the process where there’s no control over the ballots.”
Together, Ryder Graphics and Ryder Election Services employ 12 people. Ryder says the commercial side of the business has been growing recently after taking a hit during the recession. At Ryder Graphics, every job is different, but not at Ryder Election Services, where even the presidential election will be business as usual.
“It’s just another election, and we do the same things every time,” says Ryder. “Our systems are secure.”