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Mercer voter list snafu allowed some voters to vote twice

Vendor who printed poll books blamed for error

By David Wildstein, June 08 2021 5:37 pm

Faulty voter lists sent to all polling locations in Mercer County had potentially allowed more than 30,000 voters who received vote-by-mail ballots to also vote in-person on voting machines, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

“I know there were some people who voted twice,” said Anthony Conti, the chairman of the Board of Elections.

Still, there were no indications of widespread problems and no allegations of fraud.

Poll books did not indicate which voters had automatically received vote-by-mail ballots based on being permanent VBM voters from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 elections.  The lists sent to polling place only included notations for voters who recently requested a mail-in ballot.

Conti said he was notified by a poll worker who had received a VBM ballot and happened to check their own name in the poll book and saw that the usual note was not there.

“No one was checked throughout the entire county,’ Conti said.  “None of the books were labeled.”

Mercer County Superintendent Catherine DiCostanzo said that the problem appears to lie with the vendor who printed the poll books.

“We obviously didn’t realize they weren’t in the book until this morning,” DiCostanzo said of the VBM voters.  “There had to be some kind of glitch with the company we deal with.  We got on it right away.”

According to Conti, about 9,000 vote-by-mail ballots were received by Mercer County and were being processed.

“At least 9,000 had the opportunity to vote twice and we couldn’t do anything about it,” he said.  “We stopped it as quickly as possible.”

As a remedy, new lists of VBM voters were generated for every polling location and were quickly distributed for board workers to manually check each voter against the list.  That included rapid training of master board workers.

The new lists were in place by about 1:15 PM this afternoon, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

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