NJ governor race results delayed amid poll machine snafus

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NJ governor race results delayed amid poll machine snafus

The New Jersey governor’s race is still up in the air thanks to vote-counting debacles plaguing several counties — including in a key area where dozens of machines were shut down before ballots were counted.

A mistake by a poll worker led machines in 56 voting districts in Essex County, the state’s second-most populated region, to be turned off before their ballots were tallied, local election officials said.

The flub has helped throw a wrench into calling the stunningly tight race between Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and GOP foe Jack Ciattarelli.

“Those machines have to be brought back to the warehouse, and the judge will issue an order for us to open those machines, retrieve the results and post those results,’’ County Clerk Christopher Durkin told News 12.

He told The Post on Wednesday that he expects to have the districts’ results by Thursday night.

“The sooner, the better,” Durkin said. 

The county voted heavily Democratic in the 2020 presidential election.

Murphy had been comfortably leading in the polls going into Election Day, only to have Ciattarelli narrow the gap between them to as few as 465 votes statewide at one point Wednesday.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is currently neck-and-neck with Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is currently neck-and-neck with Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli.
REUTERS/Rachel Wisniewski
A mistake by a poll worker in Essex County caused voting machines to shut down before votes were counted.
A mistake by a poll worker in Essex County caused some voting machines to shut down before votes were counted.
REUTERS

Durkin said most of the Essex County districts affected by the machine mistake are located in Newark, Montclair, Maplewood, East Orange and Irvington. Between 10,000 and 15,000 votes are at stake, he said.

Meanwhile, Paterson in Passaic County also was grappling with similar vote-counting issues in five districts, according to Mayor Andrew Sayegh.

Sayegh said poll workers’ unfamiliarity with the county’s new voting machines led them to accidentally lock the contraptions before their ballots could be counted.

A judge must now approve an order to unseal the voting machines for the votes to be tallied, as is the case in Essex County, the Passaic official said.

The gubernatorial race between Ciattarelli and Murphy is likely to co to a recount.
The gubernatorial race between Ciattarelli and Murphy is likely to go to a recount.
AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah

In Hudson County, at least some early votes were counted twice, according to NBC News. The issue has been addressed, officials said.

An estimated 89 percent of the statewide vote has been reported, but there are hundreds of thousands more ballots to be tallied, both from the snafus and early and absentee voting. 

Political experts say the ballots that have yet to be counted are expected to sway toward Murphy, given the districts they’ll be coming from and typical trends for mail-ins. 

But given how close the race has been, there is a strong possibility for a recount

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