State investigation filed into ’embarrassing’ NJ election day mishap

Republican leaders have asked Attorney General Matt Platkin to open an investigation into this month’s voting machine outage in Mercer County.

Bob Hugin, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, sent a letter to Platkin on Tuesday calling the situation “unacceptable in modern society.”

Last week, Mercer County Democrat Brian Hughes called for a fundamental change in the voting process after the disruptive “printing and scanning” problems with ballots at all polling stations.

As of November 8, Dominion voting machines in all 232 constituencies were not accepting paper ballots.

Voters instead had to fill out ballots with felt-tipped pens and place them in a special emergency slot in the machine.

The Dominion, Royal Printing Service (the company that printed the ballots), and Mercer County officials have all publicly denied responsibility for the problem.

At least two municipalities initially reported that some ballot papers were missing.

Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello later said all ballots were accounted for.

Ballots from Robbinsville and Princeton had been placed in the scanner’s slots and secured at the Mercer County Board of Elections as reported Tuesday from WHYY News.

Sollami-Covello has already requested that the District Attorney investigate the election.

This demand was also supported by Hughes, who said: “We have too many people under our control and the quality of our elections has suffered, which is undermining people’s confidence in the democratic process.”

“Confidence in the electoral process is not bolstered when voters view the system as disorganized and unwieldy, or when election officials do not treat their ballots with the respect and care they deserve,” Hugin said in his letter to the attorney general.

He has urged each review to get to the bottom of the specific error or oversight, and a detailed explanation of the chain of custody of all ballots.

Last week, incumbent Gov. Sheila Oliver signed an executive order delaying runoff elections across the state until December 13, largely due to voting machine failures in Mercer County.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

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