Some votes in Trenton’s July primary were disqualified due to error by pollsters

Some voters in Trenton were stunned to find out that their votes in the July primary were not counted after finding out six bags of provisional ballots were disqualified because of an error by pollsters.

News 12 Staff

Aug 22, 2020, 2:16 AM

Updated 1,338 days ago

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Some voters in Trenton were stunned to find out that their votes in the July primary were not counted after finding out six bags of provisional ballots were disqualified because of an error by pollsters.
For Fatima Dukes and her daughter Aisha, it will be an election that they will never forget. The mother and daughter went to the Mott School to fill out their ballots by hand. There were no voting booths due to COVID-19 concerns. Forty-five days later, they received a letter stating that their votes were not counted. Dukes’s mother also received the same letter.
The letter stated, “Your provisional ballot bag was not sealed.”
“I had no clue what they were talking about because I sealed it. I’m giving it to you. Where did I go wrong?” asks Dukes.
It turns out Dukes did not do anything wrong. The Board of Elections tells News 12 New Jersey that all of the ballots were placed in bags and were supposed to be sealed with something akin to a zip-tie. But six bags were not sealed and had to be disqualified.
Mercer County Board of Elections Chairman Anthony Francioso says in a statement, “It’s not something I like to do. We don’t like to void votes because of bags that are unsealed. We don’t want to disenfranchise anyone. It’s the worst part of the job.”
Francioso cannot say if the ballots were tampered with or if the bags were not sealed properly or if they came unsealed during transport.
In total, there were 8,500 provisional ballots. It was not clear how many ballots were in the six bags.
But Dukes and her family have other questions – mainly are the poll workers competent enough for the upcoming presidential election. They say that they don’t want to get another letter come December after the November election.
Francioso says that the board will have to figure out how to prevent this from happening, adding that it may be as simple as improving the training for the poll workers who closed the bags improperly.
“I’m going to go wherever that polling place is so I can press the button to make sure I don’t get this,” says Dukes.
News 12 asked Francioso if any of the elections in Trenton were close races that may have been impacted. He said that the candidates were aware of the ballots being disqualified. He says that no one has asked for a recount or any recourse.


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