The investigation into the Mercer County voting machine snafu is ongoing, and it may be several days or more before we know exactly what happened, and why these machines weren’t in. able to tally votes on Election Day, forcing poll workers to hand out sharpies and paper. ballot papers to voters.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Covello, an elected Democrat, said efforts continue to get to the bottom of the voting issue.
“Not only are we investigating internally, but we’ve already reported it to law enforcement because we want to make sure nothing bad happened in this election,” she said. “I asked for a criminal investigation. Obviously we have to act.
Everyone passes the buck in the mess of voters
The system has been tested
She said when the voting machines were inspected two weeks ago everything was working fine, but a fresh batch of paper ballots were used in Tuesday’s election.
Dominion, the company that supplies the voting machines in Mercer County, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that “the problem in Mercer County is a printing issue.”
“Dominion tabulators performed exactly as they should in rejecting misprinted ballots. We are actively working with Royal Printing and Mercer County election officials on this matter.”
Meanwhile, a Royal Printing spokesperson told New Jersey News 101.5 there were no issues with the ballots.
This can’t happen again
State Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, said it’s important to address this issue and figure out “what we can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
She said these days, when there’s any kind of election snafu, “people start to question the integrity of our electoral system. We’ve seen this all over the country and we don’t want it to happen here in Mercer County.
“We have never had a problem in terms of questioning the integrity and reliability of our voting system,” she added.
Turner said she was assured that anyone who wanted to vote could vote, and that’s the most important thing.
An effective backup plan
Ben Dworkin, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, said a quick resolution to the problem is essential “so that people who want to misinterpret what happened don’t have evidence to be able to make these assertions”.
He said the backup voting system in place in Mercer County, which uses paper ballots and sharpies, is working.
“And because we have bipartisan electoral commissions overseeing these things, I think everyone can be trusted.”
“There is no reason to question the honesty and integrity of elections in New Jersey,” Dworkin said.
State election officials declined to comment on the situation until a determination is made on the cause of the problem.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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