Thousands of ballots went missing in Mercer County, NJ
UPDATE: The missing ballots in Robbinsville and Princeton have been found and are being counted.
“Although this is under the board of elections, I have been informed that they were all found by them and are being counted,” Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami said in a one-sentence email Thursday morning. She did not disclose where they were located.
MidJersey.news was the first to report their discovery.
Our original story is below.
As officials continue to investigate what caused voting machines to malfunction in Mercer County, thousand of ballots appear to be missing.
Mercer County Clerk Paula Covello proclaimed on Wednesday that "all ballots were collected, and every vote was counted."
The Superintendent of Elections for Mercer County, Nathaniel Walker, also claimed, "Every ballot that has been cast will be counted, no voter will be disenfranchised, and the integrity of the election is intact and secure."
Now we know that is not true.
Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried says he was notified that ballots from at least one district in his town were missing. It's not clear how many ballots are missing but there are over 800 registered voters in the district in question.
Fried called the mishap "unconscionable," and vowed, "We will not rest until we get to the bottom of this unconscionable mishap, and we will not consider the 2022 election over in Robbinsville until every single ballot is counted and done so securely."
There are a number of tight municipal races in Robbinsville where few votes separate the candidates, and the results could be surely be impacted by the missing ballots.
Ballots are also missing in Princeton.
New Jersey Globe reported ballots cast at the Princeton Municipal building from three districts were not recorded as received by the election board. As many as 3,200 ballots could be missing.
County elections officials have not commented on the missing ballots as of this morning.
Finger pointing and blame storming
The cause of the voting machine malfunction was the subject of much finger pointing on Wednesday.
New Jersey 101.5's David Matthau and Dan Alexander reported the maker of the machines, Dominion, claimed their machines "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 spokesman for Royal Printing told New Jersey 101.5 news there were no problems at all with the ballots, and pointed the blame back at the Dominion machines.
Meanwhile, Covello said she had asked for the criminal investigation.
"Not only are we having it investigated internally, but we already have reported it to criminal authorities because we want to make sure that nothing nefarious took place in this election,” she said. “I have asked for a criminal investigation. We have to obviously act."