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Bud Ravitz

Morris Dems letters asks elections board count 42 unsealed ballots

Bad glue may have disenfranchised voters

By Nikita Biryukov, December 02 2019 1:58 pm

Democrats in Morris Township sent a formal request to the Attorney General’s office asking the Morris County Board of election reconvene and count 42 unsealed provisional ballots.

Morris Township Committeeman Peter Mancuso currently leads Democrat Bud Ravitz by 15 votes.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General George Cohen, Scott Salmon, Ravitz’ attorney, said township voters were unable to seal their ballots because of issues with cheap glue on provisional ballot envelopes.

“In multiple cases, the voter attempted to seal the ballot but was unable to do so because of issues with the glue,” Salmon said. “In some instances, those voters were instructed to give the unsealed ballot to the poll worker, who placed it in the bag given to the poll workers by the Board of Elections. In others, they were told tape would be used to seal the ballot at a later point.”

More than 100 ballots cast in Morris County this year have not been counted because they came unsealed.

Salmon claimed poll workers in the town’s seventh district told voters not to seal their envelopes at all.

“Even those who had no issues sealing the ballot have signed affidavits stating that they gave their sealed envelopes to poll workers, so if the ballots were later unsealed prior to being placed, in the bag, it was the poll workers’ fault,” Salmon said. “If they became unsealed while in the bag, then the glue appears to be the likely culprit. Should someone’s sacred vote be discarded because of bad glue?”

The attorney’s letter was filed with 16 affidavits from voters in Morris Township whose votes were not counted.

In their sworn statements, the voters said they were never told their vote would be disqualified if the ballot was not properly sealed.

“It is horrifying to think that an entire election may swing not on the merits of the candidates, but because the glue on the envelopes was improperly made or because the poll workers were improperly trained,” Salmon said. “There is absolutely no harm to the Board of Elections to at least review these ballots individually and if there is any actual indicia of tampering, to discount the ballot.”

The deadline to file an election contest is Thursday.

Salmon indicated he would challenge the Board of Elections’ decision to toss the 42 ballots in court if the body did not attempt to find evidence of tampering aside from the open envelopes in which they were cast.

He asked that Cohen provide a response by noon tomorrow.

“The Board of Elections does not have a responsibility to any one candidate, but to the sanctity of the voting process. Whether the results remain the same or change, we can rest assured that the ‘true will’ of the electorate was validated if and only if we open these ballots,” he said. “At a minimum, it is difficult to imagine that the Board of Elections does not want to assure voters that their properly cast votes are counted.”

2019 12 02 Ltr to G. Cohen
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