NJ attorney general's office investigating after votes counted twice in 4 Monmouth County times

NJ attorney general’s office investigating after votes counted twice in 4 Monmouth County times

The New Jersey attorney basic’s office will examine how votes have been counted twice in some Monmouth County elections in November, doubtlessly flipping the outcomes of 1 race.

The state Division of Civil Rights — which falls underneath the attorney basic’s office — stated it had employed the agency Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler LLP on a professional bono foundation to research whether or not something illegal occurred throughout the election. The agency can even make suggestions for future election reform, the attorney basic’s office stated Wednesday.

Former New Jersey Attorney Common Peter C. Harvey, who served in the function from 2003 to 2006, will oversee the probe.

Election Techniques and Software program — which produces voting programs used broadly nationwide, together with in a couple of third of New Jersey counties — instructed Gothamist final week that human error was in charge for the issue, which affected outcomes in six voting districts unfold throughout 4 municipalities.

Just one race was shut sufficient for its consequence to doubtlessly change: Steve Clayton’s 20-vote victory over Jeffrey Weinstein for the Ocean Township college board. Clayton took office earlier this month. Different races in Belmar, Honest Haven and Tinton Falls additionally confirmed discrepancies in their tallies.

ES&S stated in an announcement a USB drive with outcomes was “loaded twice into the results reporting module.” The corporate stated safeguards in its software program would nonetheless usually forestall votes from being counted twice, however a technician reinstalling software program over the summer time skipped a step and that function wasn’t working.

In an announcement issued on Wednesday, Attorney Common Matt Platkin stated the investigation was wanted “to encourage and preserve public trust in our elections.”

The issue was first reported final week by the New Jersey Globe political information weblog run by David Wildstein, a longtime Republican politician and confessed mastermind of the Bridgegate scandal throughout Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. In a separate report, The Globe additionally stated former Belmar Councilman James Bean filed a public information request in November after noticing inconsistencies in election outcomes. Bean instructed the weblog he reached out for weeks to election officers, however didn’t hear again from the county’s superintendent of elections till December.

On Nov. 28, board Chief Clerk Tracee Johnson wrote to state officers saying a post-election audit hadn’t discovered any points apart from stray marks on some ballots and a paper jam that stored one poll from dropping right into a voting machine sleeve.

ES&S stated the difficulty was discovered after a evaluation made on the county’s request, nevertheless it didn’t say why the county made the request. A county spokesperson didn’t return requires remark made final week; Gothamist is reaching out once more Wednesday for additional remark.

County officers and the state attorney basic’s office have requested a choose to permit an emergency recount and recertification of the vote. The attorney basic’s office stated the court docket will hear arguments however not testimony on Feb. 1.

The office hasn’t but answered a message asking what steerage it had given Monmouth County election officers, or these in different counties that use the identical programs. Sharon Lauchaire, a spokesperson for the office, has additionally beforehand declined to touch upon when the office first grew to become conscious of the scenario, and whether or not it’s glad the difficulty didn’t lengthen past the districts already recognized.

In an announcement final week, Monmouth County election officers urged the state to require annual recertification of election programs, and to create a compulsory guidelines for guaranteeing programs work correctly.

“The only current tests provided by the state would not catch the step missed and acknowledged by ES&S, which allowed votes to be counted twice,” they wrote.

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