Senate Majority Conference Leader Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) today asked the New Jersey Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney to investigate the voting machine errors in four Monmouth County towns caused by a programming error by Election Systems and Software (ES&S), the county’s voting machine vendor.
The misstep, where fail-safe measures failed, caused some votes to be double-counted and appears to change the outcome of a race for Ocean Township school board, where Steve Clayton’s 20-vote victory now looks like a 1-vote win for the incumbent, Jeffrey Weinstein. Clayton took office earlier this month.
“Reversing the outcome of a race over two months after the election is completely unacceptable and creates an opening for questions about the integrity of elections in Monmouth County, and the state,” said Gopal, a two-term Democratic senator. “Monmouth County, and the state, owes voters complete transparency on how these errors occurred and what steps are being taken to ensure they never repeat.”
The Monmouth County Board of Elections is planning to seek a court order to conduct a recount of the Ocean Township race. Results in three other Monmouth municipalities – Belmar, Fair Haven and Tinton Falls – do not appear to be effected by the inaccurate election results caused by ES&S, one of the largest voting machine suppliers in the U.S.
“A full investigation of all processes of the County Clerk and Board of Election, in addition to anything relating to the elections process needs to happen immediately,” Gopal said.
The discovery of erroneous election results was discovered last week after former Belmar Councilman James Bean, submitted an Open Public Records Act request with the Monmouth County Board of Elections after noticing an inconsistency with the number of ballots cast in the November 8 general election.