Of the 91 ballots in the West Amwell special election that were delivered to the Hunterdon County Board of Elections on Wednesday and Thursday, 13 of them (14%) were rejected because the U.S. Postal Service had no postmark.
The excluded ballots won’t affect the outcome of the election, where Republican Lucas Lyons won a township committee seat by a wide margin, but it does call attention to a problem with close vote-by-mail elections: if the post office fails to put a postmark on the ballot that arrives during the 48-hour window after the polls close, the vote doesn’t count.
Lyons picked up 54 more votes since Tuesday and Democrat Lawrence Herman added another 23 to his tally. The final tally was 571 to 361, a 61%-39% margin.
This was New Jersey’s first partisan election of the 2020 campaign, and it comes in the swing 7th congressional district.
The May 12 all-VBM election was necessitated after Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone invalidated the November 2019 election results.
West Amwell Democrats sued after the Republican defeated Herman in 2019, claiming Lyons was ineligible to hold the seat because the West Amwell native did not meet the 12-month residency requirement needed to run for local office.