New Jersey launches probe after discovering voting irregularities

S3YMMH Vote sign at a polling station in New Jersey, USA.

Photo: Alamy

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced an investigation of the 2022 General Election in Monmouth County after discovering serious voting machine irregularities that may have affected the outcome of a school board race.

The election investigation comes as Monmouth County’s voting machine vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), discovered an irregularity with their vote tabulation system, leading to some votes being counted twice, according to the New Jersey Globe. The machine vendor referred to the issue as an “isolated incident occurred due to a human procedural error,” which was uncovered when an audit of the system was conducted.

Explaining the error that occurred, a spokesman for ES&S, Katina Granger told the outlet that company technicians were dispatched to Monmouth County in July “to investigate reports of slow performance on the county’s internal network,” with the technicians uninstalling and reinstalling the election management software.

Granger acknowledged that “a human procedural error” occurred during the process of reinstallation when a crucial step was omitted, New Jersey Globe added.

“A human procedural error during reinstallation excluded a step, which optimizes the system database and ensures USB flash media cannot be read twice during the results loading process. Because the database was not optimized, the user was not notified when the USB flash media were loaded twice into the results reporting module,” Granger said, according to the outlet. The problem materialized when a USB flash media was “loaded twice into the results reporting module,” Granger added.

“There are reports in the system which document these types of actions, and duplication of results can be detected during reporting and canvas procedures. The USB Status Load Report identifies any USB flash media that have been loaded more than once,” Granger stated, adding that “pollbook data cross-referenced with the ballots cast also shows issues with the number of ballots cast.”

The results of a school board race in Ocean Township were likely affected by the tabulation error, with Steve Clayton originally beating Jeffrey Weinstein by 20 votes in November’s election, the Washington Examiner reported. Yet, a post-election audit now shows Weinstein leading by one vote. The outlet added that the attorney general’s investigation intends to provide guidance on how to ensure that future elections are not affected by these issues.

“Protecting New Jerseyans’ right to vote in a free and fair election is paramount to our democracy, and ensuring the integrity of that process is essential,” Platkin said announcing the probe via an official press release.

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