Election officials in Middlesex County met Wednesday morning to discuss 11 unopened provisional ballots found after results were certified Friday.
The new ballots, first reported by New Brunswick Today, were all found in Perth Amboy and aren’t enough to shift the results of the city’s mayoral or council races, even when coupled with seven potentially fraudulent mail-in ballots received by election officials.
Those mail-in ballots were counted and, having been separated from inner envelopes identifying the problem ballots, can’t be removed from the vote total.
While the irregularities may prompt further complaints about voter fraud in this election and Perth Amboy’s Dec. 15 runoff, they do nothing to shift the results of the Nov. 3 election.
Mayor Wilda Diaz finished first there with 4,942. She’ll face Councilman Helmin Caba (4,519) in the runoff. Caba ran 900 votes ahead of challenger Joe Vas, the third-place finisher.
They also won’t be enough to change the candidates running in a runoff for two of the city’s council seats.
In that race, Junior Iglesia and Bernadette Falcon-Lopez — who both ran with Diaz — face Rose Morales and Bienvenido “BJ” Torres, both of whom ran on Caba’s slate.
Torres, the fourth-place council finisher, ran 189 votes ahead of Vanessa Bermudez, who said she would seek a recount.
The irregularities have forced election officials to sequester Perth Amboy ballots, and while authorities have been made aware of the oddities, it’s not clear whether they’ve launched investigations.
If they do, that could be worrisome for Iglesia, whom video shows alongside a former city council candidate allegedly removing ballots from an inbox.