More than 100 vote-by-mail ballots for the June primary were not delivered to Mercer Canton acclamation admiral in time to be counted, with the canton pointing the feel at the Postal Service.
The aberration impacted voters of both parties in every boondocks but did not affect the aftereffect of any races, said Mercer Canton Lath of Elections administrator Joanne Palmucci by buzz Wednesday.
The botheration came to ablaze back the canton went, July 6, to aces up its mail at the column appointment ability on Route 130 in Hamilton. The accumulating included the 130 ballots that should accept been delivered able-bodied afore then, as the Lath of Elections is amenable for counting them.
“I was so addled by this, because this is a ages after award ballots,” she said.
In best cases, the ballots were postmarked May 31 or June 1, she said. Palmucci said the lath was accommodating to accept a appropriate affair to calculation them. But she said the accompaniment Attorney General’s Office, which serves as the board’s lawyer, brash that they could “absolutely not” be counted.
“There was no beat or acumen for this, because every city had some in there and both parties were affected,” she said.
Palmucci said “there’s no question” that this was a column appointment mistake. “I’m abiding they’re never activity to alarm me and say, ‘Oh, by the way, we fabricated this mistake, it’s absolutely our fault.’ I apperceive that’s not activity to happen,” she said.
“We accept contacted the Mercer Canton administering admiral to altercate operational improvements,” the Postal Service said in a account Wednesday. “The Postal Service prides itself on accouterment prompt, reliable and able casework to our customers, whose acclamation mailings abide a actual aerial antecedence aural the organization.”
A letter was beatific to anniversary impacted aborigine to explain the situation, Palmucci said in calling it an “unfortunate, abandoned incident.”
Palmucci, a lath affiliate back 2004, said this has never happened afore in her tenure.
The absurdity comes with the canton aggravating to animate added association to vote by mail. Aftermost month, Mercer Canton Clerk Paula Sollami Covello appear affairs to accelerate every registered aborigine in Mercer — area there are some 227,000 registered voters-a vote-by-mail application.
Sollami Covello, in a buzz account Wednesday, said she affairs to accommodated with postal admiral at the Hamilton ability aing week.
“Of advance we accept a affair that article like this could happen,” she said. “I aloof appetite to acquaint them that it’s unacceptable and intolerable. We can’t accept this happen.”
Sollami Covello has accustomed her plan to animate aborigine accord by announcement the vote-by-mail option. But elections lath affiliate Anthony J. Conti bidding affair this anniversary that she did not allege to him and added lath associates about the idea, article he alone abstruse of by account about in a newspaper.
At the board’s affair Tuesday, he aloft the bogeyman of aborigine artifice as able-bodied pointing to the arduous aggregate of assignment that will abatement into the board’s lap if ample numbers of voters casting ballots by mail.
“Once she licks the envelopes and sends them out, her job is done,” said Conti, a Republican and above Trenton City Clerk in speaking of Sollami Covello.
He acclaimed that in aftermost year’s accepted election, the lath had accustomed 16,000 vote-by-mail-ballots, in a presidential contest, and that it had taken bristles canicule to get final acclamation results. He said he hoped freeholders would be accommodating to accommodate $200,000 in funds to awning the board’s costs for this year.
Another lath member, Anthony R. Francioso, additionally acicular to the acumen of accepting abundant amplitude and agents to handle the work.
“We don’t accept any abstraction of how abounding are activity to appear in,” he said in abacus that the 16,000 from aftermost year’s acclamation “completely afflicted us.”
For her part, Sollami Covello said her plan was not a surprise, article that she had presented to Mercer Canton freeholders at a account audition in March, and that she had notified Palmucci of what would be accident “on abounding occasions.”
“The lath of elections, their job is to calculation vote-by-mail-votes, so they get paid, anniversary of those lath associates gets paid to do that job,” Sollami Covello said. “So I’m apologetic if this is activity to account them added work. However, it is their job to calculation vote-by-mail votes.”
At Tuesday’s meeting, Conti said 36 percent of the mail-in-ballots from the aftermost acclamation had to be rejected.
Touching on the achievability of fraud, Conti asked: “But how do we apperceive who’s bushing out this mail-in-ballot?”
“We don’t,” Palmucci, a Democrat, replied.
“Exactly, so there goes the candor of your election,” he said.
Sollami Covello, however, said ballots would be beatific to registered voters.
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