The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections Office, filed an emergent application in Monmouth County Superior Court on Jan 20, asking for a full recount and recheck of vote tallies in Belmar, Fair Haven, Ocean Township and Tinton Falls in the Nov. 8, 2022, general election, according to a statement from the Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections Office.
As reported in last week’s School Board Notes, a technical problem with Election Systems & Software’s election software system, one of a limited number of election system vendors certified by the state, caused inaccurate vote tallies in six of Monmouth County’s 466 districts, all located in those four towns.
The election software problem “allowed some votes to be counted twice,” according to the statement from the Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections Office. “The integrity of the voting process remains the top priority of Monmouth County Election Offices,” the statement said.
The move by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office comes after the Monmouth County election offices urged the state to “require recertification of election systems – including election machines and software – both annually and whenever there is a modification to the election software, as well as immediate recertification of Election Systems & Software’s (ES&S) election software.”
The election offices also asked the state to create a new state mandated test and checklist to perform before elections to ensure the election software works properly. “Monmouth County followed the current state protocol to test the system prior to the 2022 General Election, but the only current tests provided by the State would not catch the step missed and acknowledged by ES&S which allowed votes to be counted twice,” the election offices stated.
Since the integrity of the election process is of primary concern, “these important changes to the state election process are critical,” according to the statement.
The outcome of one election could change as a result of the error – the board of education election in Ocean Township, “which was very close,” according to a statement from the Monmouth County election offices.
Steve Clayton, a member of the Ocean Township Board of Education, took his seat on the board in January, after vote totals showed he defeated former board president Jeffrey Weinstein by 20 votes. After the glitch was discovered, however, an initial recount had Weinstein beating Clayton.
The election problem has attracted national headlines with CNN and other news outlets reporting on the matter.
The Asbury Park Press noted that Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, is calling for a full investigation into the malfunction. The senator told the newspaper it is “completely unacceptable” to have to overturn the results of a race two months after the election.