Recounts ordered in 4 NJ towns could change outcome of one school board election

Recounts ordered in 4 NJ towns could change outcome of one school board election

Officers in Monmouth County, New Jersey will recount election outcomes from November races in 4 towns, after a difficulty with digital vote tabulations brought about votes to be counted twice — doubtlessly altering the outcomes of one school board race.

Superior Court docket Decide David F. Bauman approved recounts in 4 towns — Belmar, Truthful Haven, Ocean Township, and Tinton Falls — county officers mentioned in a press release offered by spokesperson Karla Roth-Bardinas late Thursday evening.

The recount and recheck will start Feb. 8 on the county Board of Elections workplace in Freehold.

Solely one race was shut sufficient that the particular person initially declared a winner could lose his seat. Official tallies in November gave Steve Clayton a 20-vote win over Jeffrey Weinstein for the Ocean Township school board. However Clayton advised the Asbury Park Press casual recounts now present him one vote behind, regardless of already being sworn in.

The state Division of Civil Rights has additionally employed a agency to analyze whether or not something illegal occurred in the course of the election, and to make suggestions for future election reform. Former New Jersey Lawyer Basic Peter C. Harvey, who served in the position from 2003 to 2006, will oversee the probe.

“The integrity of the voting process remains the top priority of Monmouth County Election Offices, and we are glad the will of the voters will be carried out,” the assertion mentioned.

Election Techniques and Software program — the corporate of the election machines used in the county — spokesperson Katina Granger advised Gothamist just lately through e-mail that human error was in the end responsible for the issue, which affected outcomes in six voting districts unfold throughout the 4 municipalities. The corporate’s techniques are used broadly nationwide, together with in a number of New Jersey counties.

Granger mentioned a USB drive with outcomes was “loaded twice into the results reporting module.” She mentioned safeguards in its software program would nonetheless usually stop votes from being counted twice, however a technician reinstalling software program over the summer time skipped a step and that function wasn’t working.

Her e-mail mentioned the error was discovered in a evaluation of the election requested by county officers, however didn’t specify what prompted that request.

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.

However the New Jersey Globe political weblog cited former Belmar Councilman James Bean saying he’d filed a public data request in November after noticing inconsistencies in election outcomes, and that he reached out to election officers on the time however didn’t hear again till December. The weblog is run by longtime Republican politician David Wildstein, the confessed mastermind of the Bridgegate scandal throughout Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The Lawyer Basic’s Workplace has declined to touch upon whether or not or when it notified different counties of the difficulty, or what steering it gave them, However officers in Warren County and Gloucester County, which each use ES&S techniques, advised New Jersey Monitor they didn’t imagine their vote counts had been compromised. Warren County officers additionally mentioned they double-checked their votes, after studying in regards to the Monmouth points.

Weinstein, in a Fb publish earlier this month, mentioned he’d been disillusioned to be taught of his seeming loss in November. However he mentioned now, “I am excited, but also feel for Steve [Clayton] and what he is now going through.”

“Technology, people or processes or some combination did not work as planned. There are lots of points to address, questions to answer and elements to fix. We must ensure that every vote is counted. We must receive specific details on why this occurred in this election, and all parties involved must work together on addressing the root cause in a collaborative manner,” he wrote. “This isn’t a Republican or Democratic difficulty. Our elections have to be flawless with well timed checks and balances.”

Monmouth was not less than the second New Jersey county to see important points with its November elections. Optical scanners on machines utilized by Mercer County communities had been unable to learn ballots printed for the November normal election, delaying counts by days.

And officers and candidates in some communities reported being advised ballots had gone lacking, although in the end ballots had been recovered from voting machines after being reopened below a court docket order. County prosecutors didn’t discover any wrongdoing related to these points, and state authorities haven’t introduced any inquiry into these issues.

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