Investigation into Mercer County, NJ voting issues finds ‘human error’
TRENTON — An investigation into the myriad of voting issues in Mercer County on Election Day has found no criminal intent and lays the blame at the feet of the company that made the county's voting machines.
County Clerk Paula Covello on Wednesday said that Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri presented the investigation's findings earlier this week at the commissioners' meeting. Covello, a Democrat, called for a criminal probe after voting machines in each of the county's 232 districts would not accept paper ballots.
According to Covello, Onofri reported that there was no criminal intent and no vote tampering that caused the problem. Instead, a Dominion Voting Systems employee who programmed the machines made a "human error."
“I would like to thank the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for their swift and thorough investigation into this matter,” Covello said. “I am pleased there was no intentional criminal action that created this problem."
New Jersey 101.5 has reached out to Dominion and the prosecutor's office for comment.
Dominion Voting Systems denies blame
Early voters and poll workers received a rude awakening on Election Day morning when the voting machines made by Dominion would not scan the ballots. Later in the day, county election officials instructed voters to place their ballots in a special emergency slot in the machines so the votes could be tallied later.
But immediately following the issues, Dominion denied all responsibility for the error. Instead, the company in a statement to New Jersey 101.5 placed the blame on a "printing issue."
"The issue in Mercer County is a printing issue. The Dominion tabulators functioned exactly as they should by rejecting incorrectly printed ballots. We are actively working with Royal Printing and Mercer County election officials on this issue," a Dominion spokesperson said.
Mercer County contracted Royal Printing for its ballots and paid $301,200 for its services. In a statement to New Jersey 101.5, Royal Printing owner David Passante pushed back against Dominion's claim and said that there was "nothing wrong with the printing."
NJGOP calls for state probe
After Onofri announced his findings Monday, State Republicans on Tuesday called for another investigation into Mercer County's election issues.
Bob Hugin, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Matt Platkin calling the errors "unacceptable in a modern society.”
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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