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Somerset completes primary vote count

Extra 10,000 votes came in during Murphy’s five-day extension for VBM ballots

By David Wildstein, August 04 2020 3:40 pm

Somerset County has completed counting votes from the July 7 primary after 25.5% of voters turned out in an election held primarily through vote-by-mail ballots.

More than 54,000 VBM ballots were returned to county election officials and an additional 7,900 ballots – about 13% of the total – were cast in-person using provisional ballots.

Just five votes were cast in 37 designated polling sites across Somerset County, where in-person voting was available for residents who needed special assistance.

According to Somerset County Election Board Administrator Jerry Midgette, 5,008 VBM ballots were received through five secure drop boxes across the county – more than 9% of the total mail-in ballots cast over an 11-day period.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order mandating a mostly-all VBM primary included an extension of the period election officials can accept ballots postmarked by Election Day from two days to seven.

Midgette said that about 10,000 ballots were received between July 9 and July 14, which means over 18% of all VBM ballots came in during the extra five days.

Somerset also mailed out 205 cure letters to prevent ballots with technical deficiencies like an unmatched signature from being rejected.  Almost 46% of the cure letters received a response from voters.

The Board of Elections rejected 1.6% of vote-by-mail ballots and 3.1% of provisional ballots, Midgette said.

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