New Jersy 101.5 reported pro-Republican counties are reporting mail-in ballots not delivered to the county election boards.
Amid one of the most hotly contested presidential elections in generations — and one in which the Republican presidential candidate has claimed that the balloting process if “rigged” — thousands of New Jersey voters are at risk of not having their votes counted in November.
Clerks in at least three Republican-heavy counties have reported that hundreds of mail-in ballots were erroneously returned to voters instead of being delivered to the county election boards.
The problem is with new Post Office equipment that was unable to properly read the mailing address on some — but not all — ballot envelopes mailed by voters.
Voters and county election officials began noticing the problem in late September, prompting counties to send out subsequent batches of newly designed mail-in ballots with an updated envelope barcode that postal officials say would prevent the error.
According to Somerset County Clerk Brett Radi, postal officials told him that post office workers were instructed to keep an eye out for mail-in ballots and to place them in a new envelope with the proper election board address rather than returning them to voters.
Radi is especially worried about voters who “put those ballots in good faith in the mail before going out of the state” for vacation or other reason. Those voters may not discover until after the election that their ballots were returned — and then it will be too late.
A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in North Jersey said the problem was with the design of the ballots.
Radi said he asked postal officials to scour post office boxes and vacation mail holds to make sure any improperly returned ballots aren’t just sitting there.
Clerks in Hunterdon and Monmouth also reported similar problems with their ballots.
Officials in Middlesex, Morris and Bergen counties, meanwhile, said Tuesday that voters had not complained about returned ballots.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the state’s secretary of state who is in charge of elections, told the AP the state Office of Homeland Security is monitoring the situation. She declined to speak further, and an official with Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.