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Man who faced disenfranchisement can vote despite ‘MVC Never Never Land’

Judge orders election officials to allow Flemington man to cast his ballot

By David Wildstein, November 02 2022 5:20 pm

A Superior Court Judge today excoriated the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission for a snafu that nearly cost a Hunterdon County man his right to vote in next week’s election.

John M. Patten moved from Manville to Flemington in February and notified the MVC of his change of address at the time, including a “skip the trip” option that allowed him to update his voter registration online.

But the MVC never notified election officials of the address change, leaving him without a valid voter registration.

“This system is plagued with glitches,” said Judge William G. Mennen IV.  “It gets lost in Motor Vehicle Commissioner Never Never Land.”

Beth Thompson, the administrator of the Hunterdon County Board of Elections, said she confirmed with the MVC that his voter registration had been updated nine months ago.

“This is a glitch in the system,” she said.  “He satisfied what he needed to do.”

Patten told the New Jersey Globe that he contacted election officials in his new home county after realizing that he never received a sample ballot.  His wife, who also updated her voter registration on the MVC website, did get one.

“He should be permitted to vote,” Mennen said.

According to Thompson, there have been other issues during early voting regarding problems at the MVC.

Patten did what all voters are asked to do: advocate for the right to vote.

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