The Burlington County Board of Elections is just about done tallying mail-in ballots and has started opening ballot bags filled with provisional ballots, board Chairman Joe Dugan said Wednesday afternoon.
While he wasn’t ready to give a count, Dugan expects there to be between 3,000 and 4,000 provisional ballots based on the year’s turnout and historical trends.
Those provisional ballots won’t be counted until they’re validated by Burlington County Superintendent of Elections George Kotch. That process that involves, among other things, making sure a voter was registered in the district they voted and had not voted by mail in the same election.
Camden County Superintendent of Elections Phyllis Pearl said the process is a length process that involves many steps, which are not necessarily not difficult but can be tedious and time-consuming. The time to validate or invalidate a particular provisional ballot varies, Pearl said. It could be one minute or 10 or even longer depending on the specifics of the case.
Dugan and his counterparts in Ocean County are aiming to have their provisional ballots validated and counted by Wednesday so official election results can be certified.
It’s possible that those votes will decide whether Rep. Tom MacArthur or Andy Kim wins the race in the third district if vote-by-mail ballots don’t widen the 2,315-vote gap between the two candidates.
Dugan said he expects the send mail in ballots figures to Burlington County Clerk Tim Tyler sometime today, though he wasn’t sure Tyler would update vote totals on Wednesday.
A member of the clerk’s office said the unofficial vote tallies would be updated when the office received figures from the board of elections.
The state’s new vote-by-mail law is having an effect here. Almost 400 new mail-ballots came to the Board of Elections Wednesday afternoon. Before the state’s new law was implemented, any votes arriving after polls closed on election day wouldn’t have been counted.
Under the new law, election board have to count mail-in ballots received through Thursday as long as they were postmarked by election day.