Home>Campaigns>Machine counts of mail-in ballots not 100% accurate, but close, audit shows

A secure ballot drop box in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

Machine counts of mail-in ballots not 100% accurate, but close, audit shows

State-mandated audit results in 47 uncounted ballots being located in Gloucester County

By David Wildstein, December 08 2020 3:22 pm

Machine vote counts of vote-by-mail ballots were slightly less than 100% accurate in each of 14 randomly selected ballot bins in Gloucester County, but 47 uncounted ballots were discovered during a state audit of a little less than 5% of the total votes cast in the 2020 general election.

Election officials hand-counted 14 of Gloucester’s 309 bins of ballots as part of the state-mandated recounts and then compared them to the results tabulated through the optical scanning process.

Thirteen of the bins were 2 or 3 votes off, but one of the randomly opened bins had 47 ballots that had never been counted.  None of the hand counted bins matched the scanned ballot count exactly.  Each bin contained about 600 votes.

Ten of the ballot bins that were hand counted were 99% accurate, two of them were over 98% correct, and another came within 97.8% of being correct.  The bin with 48 uncounted votes resulted in a final tally that was just 80.8% of the total votes certified.

Republican Nicholas DeSilvio is seeking a recount of all Gloucester County ballots after losing a race for freeholder to Democratic incumbent Lyman Barnes by 1,944 votes.

Superior Court Judge Benjamin C. Telsey has scheduled a hearing for the recount bid on Friday morning.

In an email to the state attorney general’s office obtained by the New Jersey Globe, DeSilvio’s attorney, Christopher Dasti, said that “extrapolating this error over the entirety of the voting districts could result in excess of 1,000 votes that were not counted.”

“Obviously this is concerning,” Dasti wrote. “At this point, I propose a consent order to permit the recount and recheck, do the smaller towns first, and see if anything changes.”

This is the third reported finding of uncounted ballots.

While preparing for a recount in the Berkeley Heights Township Council race last week, Union County election officials located 109 uncounted ballots in a box that had been marked as counted.

Middlesex County election officials found 11 uncounted ballots in Perth Amboy.

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