Calling the Election Day malfunction of all voting machines in Mercer County “an embarrassment for our state,” Republican State Chairman Bob Hugin is calling on the state attorney general to investigate the cause of the glitch in a bid to assign responsibility and determine why a glitch led to the problem.
“The complete failure of Mercer County voting machines on Election Day is unacceptable in a modern society,” said Hugin. “Faith in the election process is not bolstered where voters view the system as disorganized, cumbersome or that election officials do not treat their ballot with the respect and care that it deserves.
Election officials have said a programming glitch caused all voters to cast paper ballots. Dominion, the manufacturer of the voting machines, and the vendor hired by the county to print ballots, have pointed fingers at each other.
“The public has still not been informed how Mercer County election officials, whose legal duty it is to ensure every voter’s constitutionally protected right to cast a ballot, allowed this calamity to occur,” Hugin said in a letter to Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “Voters deserve a swift and comprehensive response to the questions of how this problem was allowed to occur after Mercer County just purchased new voting systems in 2021, what the specific error or oversight was, how it came to exist and a detailed explanation of the chain of custody of all ballots, some of which were initially misplaced.”
Hugin also demanded that Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration be held accountable and slammed Murphy for leaving a Republican election post vacant for nearly a year – something that might have provided a bi-partisan check and balance over the process.
“This unacceptable and embarrassing display lies squarely at the feet of the Murphy Administration, which refused to fill the Deputy Superintendent of Elections post, a Republican position, since it became vacant in December 2021,” said Hugin. “This egregious dereliction of duty appears to have been a contributing factor to the debacle that occurred in Mercer County on election day and has impeded the functional and transparent administration of this election.”
Election Day issues caused a delay in the counting of votes and triggered a one-week delay in Trenton’s runoff election.
Hugin also asked Platkin to explain how some ballots were found on the floor.