Some completed mail-in ballots were returned to voters instead of being taken to county election boards because U.S. Postal Service scanners tagged the wrong address, Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief counsel said Friday.
“We worked with the U.S. Postal Service to design the ballots so that their scanners would accurately read the return address,” Matt Platkin said at Friday’s COVID-19 briefing. “The scanners are picking up the voter’s address for some reason, so we’ve alerted the Postal Service of that on the call the governor mentioned, and actually that concern came out of conversations we had with the various counties.”
On Thursday, Murphy and Platkin spoke with USPS COO David Williams via phone. The incorrectly-delivered ballots came up as a topic of conversation, as did delivery delays and instances in which stacks of vote-by-mail ballots were left unattended in an apartment building lobby.
The Postal Service specifically signed off on the design of the ballots they say are causing problems.
USPS also delayed for weeks its approval of vote-by-mail applications send to roughly 2.4 million unaffiliated New Jersey voters.
That hold up meant county clerks had to wait send out some mail-in ballots until after the deadline to do so had passed.
Murphy said Platkin had followed up on Thursday’s conversation with the postal service, though it still isn’t clear how widespread the ballot-scanning issue is.
Last week, the New Jersey Globe reported the Postal Service had incorrectly delivered dozens of completed primary mail-in ballots.