Hundreds of registered New Jersey Republican voters were surprised when they received main-in primary ballots featuring a list of Democrat candidates, NJ.com reports.
Bernardsville Republican Municipal Committee chairwoman Karen Gardner said she notified the Somerset County Republican Organization of the error once she opened up her ballot. The county clerk was then informed.
“The slate of candidates was all Democrat from Joe Biden down to dogcatcher, but on the upper right, it clearly stated it was a Republican ballot, and it had my name and correct information on the return envelope,” Gardner told NJ.com.
Of the 2,400 registered Republicans in Bernardsville, between 500-700 of them received the messed up mail-in ballot. Republican voters who received the incorrect ballot were mailed a corrected ballot with a note explaining the mishap. All the incorrect ballots were voided.
The printing company that sent out the county’s ballots was responsible for the error. This year, the county clerk’s office handed the task of preparing the ballots to an outside company because of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order that every voter receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the delayed July 7 primary election because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“If we had had a greater lead time when we were sending out these ballots, we would have been able to do the ballot insertion in-house, and this error would have been caught,” Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter told NJ.com, promising the error will not happen again.
“Come November, I have implored the governor and everybody in the legislature that I can talk to . . . that if we do have an all or mainly vote-by-mail election that that decision be made no later than Aug. 1, so that we would have adequate time to prepare these ballots and we can do the insertion in our office to ensure quality control,” Peter said.
He said the proof the printer provided did not contain any errors.
Bob Fetterly, the president of Reliance Graphics, Inc., that printed the ballots called it a human error.
“It was a misprint,” Fetterly said. “Human error. We mailed over 1.5 million ballots in the last couple of weeks and 500 went astray. So we apologized for it, but it was a human error . . . we had a success rate of 99.99 percent.”
Bernardsville’s Republican Mayor Jane Canose said she does not suspect any voter fraud, but was concerned about the incident.
“You can’t have printer errors,” Canose told NJ.com. “I think that’s a problem.”
President Donald Trump is not a fan of mail-in ballots and has alleged the 2020 election will be rigged if it is conducted via main-in ballots. Many states are encouraging people to vote by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump tweeted Monday:
“Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history.”