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Middlesex County Republican Chair Lucille Panos

Middlesex GOP protests partisan imbalance of employees counting votes

By David Wildstein, July 21 2020 1:20 pm

The Middlesex County Board of Elections has promised a better partisan balance during the counting of ballots in the general election after the county Republican leader lodged a complaint.

Republican County Chair Lucille Panos said that the election board used two locations to process a huge number of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots cast in the July 7 primary election and that employees at an Election Day satellite facility at Middlesex County College had a 9 to 1 Democratic edge.

The Board of Elections office had 7 Republicans and three Democrats.

“There is no valid reason for such political party disparity in assigning Board of Election employees,” Panos said.

Panos asked for an immediate reassignment of election board workers so that each location would have equal partisan distribution.

That request was turned down by Thomas Lynch, the Board of Elections administrator.

Lynch said the initial goal in separating vote-counting teams was so that if one person in a group were to contract COVID-19, there would be another group that was not exposed.

“To move employees at this juncture would require a quarantine period which would remove employees from working on ballots to finalize the primary election to working remotely from home which would not be practical,” Lynch said.  “We also now have better party balance during ballot tabulations and counting sessions.”

Panos said that Lynch’s explanation “actually gives cause for greater concern.”

“If one group is exposed, then the political party disparity would be even greater,” she said.

Lynch said he would address the party imbalance after the primary election so that the issue is resolved before November.

Panos had rejected the idea of waiting until November.

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