Morris County had more rejected ballots than anywhere else in the state in 2019, with 1,520 votes cast in the last election left uncounted, according to the New Jersey Division of Elections.
Turnout in Morris spiked from 19% in 2015 to 32% in 2019, but the number of ballot rejected – largely from a huge increase in ballots cast by mail – increased by 419%.
Some of the rejected ballots could be a result of allegedly defective glue that kept provisional ballots cast on election day from remaining sealed.
Bad glue –unsealed ballots — is just one of many reasons why ballots might go uncounted.
Election officials invalidate provisional and mail-in ballots for reasons, including: ballots received after polls had closed; the bearer of the ballot exceeded limits or did not properly sign in; missing certificates or signatures; candidate provided assistance; incomplete assister or bearer portions; moved out of county; mismatched signatures; criminal disqualification; or incomplete affirmations.
In some cases, voters already voted by machine – this happened at least once in Morris County this year – or had cast both vote-by-mail and provisional ballots.
In Morris Township, 42 ballots remain uncounted because they were not sealed when election officials attempted to count them a week after the election. Just 15 votes separate the two candidates for township committee in a race that is headed to court.
Morris County accounted for 8.2% of the total votes cast in New Jersey, but makes up 14.3% of the total rejected ballots across the state.
Statewide, 10,594 votes cast in the 2019 general election were not counted.
In Monmouth County, which cast 16,000 more votes that Morris, just 777 ballots were rejected.
Morris was second in the state in rejected ballots in 2018, with 1,920 votes never counted.
In 2017, before New Jersey’s VBM law went into effect, Morris rejected 903 votes. In 2016, 1,774 ballots were rejected – the 5th highest county in the state.