Hudson County officials from the clerk’s office and board of elections details what went wrong on election night and how they plan to fix these issues going forward.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Regarding the June 6, 2023, Election results not yet reported. The Democratic process relies on many moving pieces. At the end of the night, Election night materials are returned to the Municipal Clerk’s offices and subsequently to the County Clerk’s and Superintendent of Elections offices,” the officials wrote.
“If an error occurs in closing the machine or the materials are not promptly returned or are misplaced, this can cause delays in Election reporting. In the case of this Election, forty-four (44) cartridges were not returned or misplaced on the night of June 6, 2023.”
The lengthy statement is attributed to County Clerk E. Junior Maldonado,
Acting Superintendent of Elections John Brzozowski, Board of Elections Chair Janet Larwa, County Clerk’s Office Supervisor of Elections Brittani Bunney, Superintendent of Election’s Office Election Coordinator Kevin Lacey, and Board of Elections Clerk Michael Harper.
They acknowledge that while early voting and vote-by-mail tallies were posted on the County Clerk’s website at 8:01 p.m. on Tuesday, the subsequent update didn’t come until about 9:40 p.m. They attributed this to unforeseen network issues.
“Several weeks prior to the Election and the morning of June 6, 2023, we did trial runs and determined the reporting system was functioning properly. After investigating what happened, we have determined the delay on the evening of June 6, 2023, was attributable to transient network issues that were not present during subsequent tests,” they explained.
“Additionally, being that it was our first Countywide election using our new ES&S Election Machines for Election Day and Dominion for Vote by Mail, merging the data to be able to properly report and display the results on our website using our Election Night reporting software and making sure to comply with New Jersey Election reporting Statutes and N.J.S.A 19:63-22C took significantly longer than anticipated.”
To remedy this situation, they indicated that Elections Systems & Software has been contracted as their sole election vendor, beginning with the November 7th general election, eliminating the need to merge data from two separate software systems.
Additionally, they are committed to purchasing and installing remote reading sites throughout the county so that poll workers no longer have to hand deliver election materials to the county after the polls close.
“Our goal is to always deliver Election Night Results quickly and to be as transparent and informative as possible and we are sorry for the issues that lead to a delay in reporting Election night results on Tuesday June 6, 2023,” their statement continued.
“We are confident that the remedies now in place for the 2023 General Election and onward will result in Election night reporting that is more timely.”
Yesterday, Bunney said that 29 of the 44 missing voting cartridges had been recovered when detailing why the preliminary results had been delayed.
Today, the officials detailed that six of the machines were not closed properly and 15 cartridges were left in the machines. They filed a court order so that data can be read and a judge is expected to grant the order at a hearing tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
Additionally, they indicated that 23 districts are outstanding: two in Bayonne, one in Harrison, six in Hoboken, 13 in Jersey City, and one in West New York.
While 8 of the 10 county contests have been clearly decided, close races in the 4th and 5th Districts have Commissioner Yraida Aponte-Lipski leading Mamta Singh by about six points and Commissioner Chair Anthony leading Ron Bautista by six points.
While the Hudson County Democratic Organization called the races for the incumbents on Tuesday evening, Singh and Bautista have still not conceded due to the outstanding votes, with Singh’s campaign manager, Tori Stowell, questioning the process in a statement released last night.
“… We are concerned at the level of disarray from the County Board of Elections on the missing results from over 20 precincts and how long it took for them to identify and disclose which voting districts were missing to the candidates,” she said.
“We will continue to wait to ensure all votes from the June 6th primary are counted.”
The earliest the board of elections can certify the results of this election is June 19th, per state statute.