State probe requested after ’embarrassing’ NJ Election Day mishap
Republican leaders have asked state Attorney General Matt Platkin to launch an investigation into this month’s Election Day voting machine failures in Mercer County.
Bob Hugin, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, sent a letter to Platkin on Tuesday in which he called the situation “unacceptable in a modern society.”
Last week, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, a Democrat, asked for a fundamental change of the election process following the disruptive "printing and scanning issues" with ballots across polling places.
On Nov. 8, Dominion voting machines throughout all 232 voting districts would not accept paper ballots.
Voters instead had to fill out ballots with sharpie markers and deposit them into a special emergency slot in the machines.
Dominion, Royal Printing Service (the company that printed the ballots) and Mercer County officials all have publicly denied responsibility for the problem.
Initially, at least two municipalities had said that some ballots were missing.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello later said all ballots were accounted for.
Ballots from Robbinsville and Princeton had been placed inside of the scanner’s bins and secured at the Mercer County Board of Elections, as reported Tuesday by WHYY News.
Sollami-Covello has already requested that the County Prosecutor look into the election.
That request was also supported by Hughes, who said "We’ve got too many people in control and the quality of our elections has suffered as a result, undermining peoples’ faith in the democratic process."
“Faith in the election process is not bolstered where voters view the system as disorganized, cumbersome or that election officials do not treat their ballot with the respect and care that it deserves,” Hugin said in his letter to the attorney general.
He has pushed for any review to get to the bottom of what the specific error or oversight was and a detailed explanation of the chain of custody of all ballots.
Last week, Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver signed an executive order delaying run-off elections statewide until Dec. 13, in large part due to the voting machine failures in Mercer County.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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