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A voting machine manufactured by Election Systems and Software. (Photo: ES&S).

N.J. county seeks recount after voting machines double-counted votes

Judge asked to order recheck in four towns

By David Wildstein, January 20 2023 8:37 pm

Election officials in Monmouth County want a judge to order an immediate recount and recheck of the November 8, 2022 general election after the voting machine vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S) admitted this week that a human error caused some votes in six voting districts across four towns to be double counted.

The Board of Elections and the Superintendent of Elections filed an emergent application in Superior Court asking for an examination of results in Belmar, Fair Haven, Ocean Township and Tinton Falls.

The state attorney general’s office filed the motion late today at the insistence of election officials and against the initial recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Susan Scott.

“The integrity of the voting process remains the top priority of Monmouth County Election Offices,” the officials said in a statement.

But Deputy Attorney General Dominic Giova asked the judge to delay the recount until after February 6 because the election board is busy with a special school election in Manasquan and a fire district election in Millstone on January 24.   Manasquan has less than 4,000 voters and Millstone has almost 8,700 — about 2% of all votes in the county ; these elections typically draw extraordinarily low turnouts, which means roughly 2,000 votes on Election Day.  Monmouth County processed 232,497 votes in Election Day last year.

In an Ocean Township school board race, a candidate who won by 20 votes and was seated this month now trails by one vote after an informal tally.

“In discussing the matter directly with ES&S Vice President Adam Carbullido, I was advised that during a software re- installation, conducted by ES&S, that took place in Monmouth County in July 2022, the fail-safe mechanism that would have prevented votes being duplicated was not re-installed, thereby allowing data sets to be entered into the software system twice and be counted twice. The cause of the issue was ultimately human error,” Allan Roth, the Board of Elections chairman, said in a court filing.  “I was also advised that the anomaly is isolated to Monmouth County.”

It’s not immediately clear if the problem extends beyond Monmouth; ES&S supplies voting machines to about one-third of  the counties in New Jersey.  State Sen. Vin Gopal  (D-Long Branch) has asked the attorney general and the U.S. Attorney to conduct an investigation.

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