The programming glitch that has rendered optical scanners at polling locations across Mercer County as unworkable will not be fixed today by the county vendor, Dominion, but voters are still able to vote today at their polling location.
Instead, every voter is filling out a paper ballot and dropping them into the secure scanner machine storage bin. A team of a Democrat and a Republican from the Mercer County Board of Elections are collecting the cannisters that hold the votes throughout today and are scanning them at their office.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello will be able to report unofficial results of all ballots tabulated by the Board of Elections by the end of the night, but there may be a lag time before the numbers are placed into the system.
Election officials are taking steps to protect the chain of custody of ballots throughout the process.
A contingency plan is in place for all ballots cast at all locations to be scanned at the secure Board of Elections offices, said Nathaniel Walker, the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections. “Ballots will be scanned just as they would at the polling location.
Walker said that “every ballot that has been cast will be counted, no voter will be disenfranchised, and the integrity of the election is intact and secure.”
Both parties are assuring voters that their votes will be counted and no one will be disenfranchised.
“The Democratic Party of New Jersey is monitoring the situation regarding scanning issues at voting machines in Mercer County, and we want every voter to understand that your vote will be counted and your voice will be heard,” said Saily Avelenda, the executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. “Voters will vote as they usually would, so that experience will be the same.
Avelenda said that the state party has “deployed resources from our Voter Protection team to make sure the tabulation of the vote will go smoothly, so voters in Mercer County should feel 100% confident that their vote will be counted and should make sure to get to the polls before 8 PM.”