Union County election officials have discovered 109 uncounted ballots in Berkeley Heights, where 110 votes separate two candidates for a seat on the township council.
“In the course of preparing for the recount, our office located 109 ballots,” said Nicole DiRado, the Union County election administrator. “I recognize the irony of this number, but it is truly a coincidence.”
Democratic councilwoman Susan Poage filed for a recount after losing her seat to Republican Jeffrey Varnerin, 4,050 to 3,940.
Of the 109 ballots, 102 of them are in their original envelopes and 7 had already been stripped of their certifications and are still in the sealed inner envelope.
The uncounted ballots will be tallied on Monday as part of the recount and no chain of custody issues exist, according to DiRado.
The stack of ballots was found in a box containing outer envelopes of votes that had already been counted, DiRado told the New Jersey Globe.
“That box was marked as being received before being out in a secure storage room,” DiRado said. “This is purely an honest, human error.”
Based on the postmarks, the 110 Berkeley Heights votes were from a batch of ballots that arrived early in the process, the NJ Globe has learned.
DiRado said Union County counted over 258,000 ballots for the November 3 general election.
“You have to be concerned with appearance, considering the national conversation on vote-by-mail ballots,” DiRado said.