TRENTON — An investigation into Mercer County’s myriad voting issues on Election Day found no criminal intent, placing the blame on the company that made the county’s voting machines.
County Clerk Paula Covello said Wednesday that Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri presented the findings of the investigation at the commissioners’ meeting earlier this week. Covello, a Democrat, called for a criminal investigation after voting machines in each of the county’s 232 counties refused to accept paper ballots.
According to Covello, Onofri reported that there was no criminal intent and no voice tampering that caused the problem. Instead, a Dominion Voting Systems employee who programmed the machines made a “human error.”
“I would like to thank the Mercer County Attorney General for their prompt and thorough investigation of this matter,” Covello said. “I’m glad there was no deliberate criminal action that caused this problem.”
New Jersey 101.5 has contacted Dominion and the prosecutor’s office for comment.
Dominion Voting Systems denies guilt
Early voters and pollsters were shocked on the morning of Election Day when Dominion’s voting machines failed to scan the ballots. Later in the day, county election officials instructed voters to place their ballots in a special emergency slot in the machines so that the votes could be counted later.
But immediately after the trouble, Dominion denied all responsibility for the error. Instead, in a statement to New Jersey 101.5, the company blamed a “printing problem.”
“The issue in Mercer County is a printing issue. The Dominion tabulators functioned exactly as they should by rejecting misprinted ballots. We are actively working with Royal Printing and Mercer County election officials on this issue,” a Dominion spokesperson said.
Mercer County contracted Royal Printing for its ballots and paid $301,200 for its services. In a statement to New Jersey 101.5, David Passante, owner of Royal Printing, countered Dominion’s claim, saying there was “nothing wrong with the printing.”
NJGOP calls for state probe
After Onofri announced his findings Monday, state Republicans called for a new inquiry into Mercer County’s election issues on Tuesday.
Bob Hugin, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General Matt Platkin calling the mistakes “unacceptable in a modern society.”
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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