A poll worker’s mistake has led to a court order to open two voting machines in New Jersey’s Monmouth County.
The issue took place in the town of Manalapan, according to the New Jersey Globe.
Deputy Attorney General George Cohen said Thursday that a poll worker “inadvertently failed to get vote results” before the machine was sealed.
Cohen said a poll worker removed two USB sticks from the machine before the results were completely uploaded. Because one has results on it and one does not, officials are unsure of the actual results.
Superior Court Judge David Bauman has given the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections approval to open the machines.
“The entire process will be bi-partisan,” Cohen said to the judge.
It is unknown if the results found in the machine could change Tuesday’s elections.
Vote totals released Wednesday showed the two candidates elected to the Township Committee with handy margins over their rivals, according to CentralJersey.com.
Initial results showed the two seats going to Republicans Mary Ann Musich, who had 8,986 votes, and Eric Nelson, who had 8,740 votes. Democrat Jamie Herr received 5,082 votes, while fellow Democrat Lisa Lenn received 5,056 votes.
Scanning problems on Tuesday with machines made by Dominion Voting Systems resulted in a large number of paper ballots being required in the county.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello asked the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office to “investigate as to whether this scanning problem occurred based on an error or whether something was intentionally done to create chaos and distrust in the election system.”
Sollami-Covello said officials are “not suspicious of any specific wrongdoing,” but they “do need to investigate the matter fully.”
On Thursday, Mercer County Superior Court Judge William Anklowitz approved an order to open the voting machines, according to northjersey.com.
“Out of an abundance of caution the superintendent and board would like to go in to open all of the tabulator storage compartments that have both a main compartment and an emergency ballot compartment to ensure that any votes cast during the Nov. 8, 2022 general election have been collected and to make sure none are inadvertently left in those compartments,” Cohen said at the Mercer County hearing.
Ankowitz granted the request.
“There are paper ballots that would usually be scanned in and instead of being scanned. They were to be put inside of the machine for security until they were able to be collected and counted,” he said. “To make sure that there is nothing left behind in the machines and that every vote is counted, the court agrees with the position of the superintendent that the machines can be checked to make sure.”
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