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Missing Ballots

Sussex Co NJ Ballot
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Our national election is just five weeks away, and yet many news stories illustrate that there are problems on the horizon. Much of the rhetoric focuses on the possibility of election fraud. A greater problem may simply be election mismanagement.

The state of New Jersey has provided many illustrations. The election in the state’s third-largest city (Patterson) was such a mess that they will redo the election on November 3. They had to take a “Mulligan” in the election because a quarter (24.29%) of the ballots had to be rejected.

As troubling as those actions were, the reaction to this debacle was worse. A New Jersey judge acknowledged that many ballots in the election were rejected, but then tried to put a positive spin by noting that the overall ballot-rejection rate in other elections was “only 9.6%.” I am troubled he used the word “only” to describe ballots tossed out.

New Jersey was in the news again when officials in Sussex County announced they had discovered 1,666 ballots “in a bin that was mislabeled.” But don’t worry, said the local board of elections, these 1,666 missing ballots did not change the outcome of any primary election. My question is: What if it did? How do you lose more than a thousand ballots, and what happens if something like this happens in November?

The casual, cavalier reactions from these elected officials should alarm us. Imagine if votes were valued the way we value money. Imagine if your bank told you that their ATM machine “only” made a mistake 9.6% of the time. Imagine if your bank misplaced $1,666 of your money.

Voting and elections are important. I am deeply concerned that some of these election officials don’t take it very seriously.viewpoints new web version

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