Investigation into voting issues in Mercer County, NJ finds ‘human error’

TRENTON — An investigation into the myriad voting problems in Mercer County on Election Day has found no criminal intent and blames the company that made the county’s voting machines.

County Secretary Paula Covello said Wednesday that Mercer County Attorney Angelo Onofri presented the findings of the investigation at the commissioners’ meeting earlier this week. Covello, a Democrat, called for a criminal investigation after voting machines in each of the county’s 232 wards failed to accept paper ballots.

According to Covello, Onofri reported that there was no criminal intent or voice manipulation that caused the problem. Instead, a Dominion Voting Systems employee programming the machines made a “human error”.

“I would like to thank the Mercer County Attorney’s Office for their prompt and thorough investigation of this matter,” said Covello. “I am pleased that this problem was not caused by criminal intent.”

New Jersey 101.5 has reached out to Dominion and the district attorney’s office for comment.

Dominion Voting Systems denies guilt

Early voters and poll workers were rudely awakened on Election Day morning when Dominion-made voting machines would not scan ballots. Later in the day, county election officials instructed voters to place their ballots in a special emergency slot in the machine for votes to be counted later.

But immediately after the problems, Dominion denied any responsibility for the error. Instead, the company blamed a “printing issue” in a statement to New Jersey 101.5.

“The problem in Mercer County is a pressure problem. The Dominion’s tabs worked exactly as they should, rejecting misprinted ballots. We are actively working with Royal Printing and Mercer County election officials on this issue,” a Dominion spokesman said.

Mercer County hired Royal Printing for its ballots, paying $301,200 for its services. In a statement to New Jersey 101.5, Royal Printing owner David Passante disputed Dominion’s claim, saying there was “nothing wrong with the print.”

NJGOP requests status probe

After Onofri announced his findings on Monday, state Republicans on Tuesday called for another investigation into Mercer County’s election problems.

Bob Hugin, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Matt Platkin calling the errors “unacceptable in modern society.”

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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