Politics

More Than 1,600 Uncounted Ballots From New Jersey Primary Found In Bin

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Sussex County elections board officials found more than 1,600 uncounted ballots from New Jersey’s July primary elections Thursday in a “mislabeled” bin that was stored in a “secure area” at the county elections board office.

Board of Elections Administrator Marge McCabe said in a statement Monday that the roughly 1,666 uncounted ballots cast in the state’s July 7 primary were counted and verified by the county clerk’s office Saturday, the New Jersey Herald reported.

“The Board of Elections is confident that all ballots received have been processed and the security of all the ballots has remained in place,” the statement read. McCabe added that including the newly counted votes “did not change the outcome of any Sussex County primary election in any race for any office, Republican or Democrat.”

A majority of residents in Sussex County voted by mail due to public health concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and the county election board relocated to Sussex County Community College to count the votes in order to practice social distancing, WPVI reported.

More than 28,062 mail-in ballots and an additional 2,126 provisional ballots were cast during the July primary elections, according to a New Jersey Herald analysis.

Instances of uncounted or invalidated ballots have occurred in other states where voters predominantly cast their ballots by mail. More than 50,000 absentee ballots were invalidated in a single Iowa county in late August. (RELATED: Mail-In Voting Fraud Causes New Jersey Judge To Order Special Election)

Critics of a vote by mail system have also argued that it can lead to voter fraud and ballot harvesting.

Sussex County is a Republican Party stronghold and could generate further skepticism about the efficacy of a vote by mail system, Politico reported. The state’s general election in November is also expected to be conducted by mostly mail-in ballots and would see a far larger voter turnout than the primary.

“These weren’t even votes lost by the post office, they were lost in the election office,” said Sussex County Tea Party leader William Hayden, according to Shore News. “This is a disaster for both parties and an infringement on our freedom.”