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Camden County election officials hard at work counting thousands of ballots

With less than a week left until the deadline to submit mail-in ballots, some counties in New Jersey have already started to count the ballots that they have already received.

News 12 Staff

Oct 28, 2020, 9:39 PM

Updated 1,332 days ago

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With less than a week left until the deadline to submit mail-in ballots, some counties in New Jersey have already started to count the ballots that they have already received.
Outside the Camden County Board of Elections, there is a steady stream of cars with residents dropping off their ballots. Many voters say that this is a much different election season than they are used to.
“Not the norm, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” says Blackwood resident Cheryl Fuscellaro.
Gloucester Township resident Lakeisha Carter agrees.
“It was important for me to know that I could drop it off myself,” she says.
Inside the Board of Elections – the staff is busier than they have ever been.
“We’ve got about 180,000-plus ballots in the building out of 357,000 that were sent out,” says Commissioner Rich Ambrosino.
A scanner is making counting all the ballots possible. Each ballot goes through it three times.
"The inner envelope is run through. It takes a picture of the signature and rescans the barcode to make sure I didn't miss it the first time that the ballot is received and then they are ready to ready to be signature checked,” Ambrosino says. “The signatures upload to our computer system here in the office and we have one Republican and one Democrat, either a commissioner or staff person look at every signature."
The last step of the process is that one Democrat and one Republican from the office pulls the ballots out of the envelopes and flattens them so that the ballots can be brought upstairs to machines to be counted.
"The counting is the fastest part. We can count 35,000-40,000 ballots in an hour. We have seven high-speed scanners,” the commissioner says.
The results won’t be published until election night and updated days after they continue to count every ballot. They have until Nov. 20 to certify it all.
“We’ll stay seven days a week, however long it takes,” Ambrosino says.
Officials say that the most common mistake that they have seen on the ballots is voters signing the ballots itself rather than the envelope – or writing on the ballots. Both can disqualify the ballot.


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