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District 13 Votes Put on Hold

Election results on the local, county and state levels might not be certified until late November as a result.

Camden County election officials have yet to count votes from at least one Gloucester Township district to its unofficial tally due to an issue with a voting machine.

District 13 votes have been put on hold at the county level after a machine sent to the Stetser-Lamartine American Legion Post No. 281 building, in Chews Landing, was put aside Tuesday morning.

Poll workers were alerted that the machine had a low battery before polls opened, county officials said, and it was replaced with another machine within an hour.

It could be up to two weeks before the county adds District 13 votes to those from the township's 39 other districts to arrive at an official tally.

Votes from three more districts in Camden County—one each in Haddonfield, Pennsauken and Somerdale—are being held up at the county level due to various machine-related issues, Camden County Superintendent of Elections Phyllis Pearl said on Wednesday.

Pearl noted the four Camden County voting machines from which cartridges have not yet been pulled were never used by voters on Tuesday.

The Democratic Party sweep reported Tuesday night in the Gloucester Township Council election will stand once District 13 votes, as well as absentee and provisional ballots from all township districts, are added to the unofficial tally, officials said.

Democrats won all four Council seats by a wide margin over their Republican and independent opponents, according to unofficial results released by the Gloucester Township Clerk's Office late Tuesday night. Republican Sam Garro, the top finisher on the GOP ticket, fell roughly 1,600 votes behind Councilman-elect Sam Siler, who received the Democrats' lowest vote total (4,929).

"It's doubtful it will affect the outcome," Gloucester Township Republican Municipal Committee chairman Ray Polidoro acknowledged Wednesday morning when discussing reported problems with a few voting machines.

While he does not believe the outcome will change as a result of inquiries into the reported problems, Polidoro is concerned by what he heard of issues with voting machines.

"This is not sour grapes. Again, I don't imagine it will affect the outcome of the election. ... But irregularities are irregularities," he said. "If there are problems with the machines, the kinks need to be worked out."

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, Camden County's official website still showed only 37 of 40 Gloucester Township voting districts reporting.

Patch.com had not received a response from the county regarding their apparently missing totals from two more districts by the end of business Wednesday.

The county website shows Democrat Glen Bianchini garnered a high of 5,022 votes in Tuesday's election. The Gloucester Township Clerk's Office unofficial tally showed he had received 5,186 votes—the 164-vote difference presumably coming from the three missing districts.

Gloucester Township Democrats posted numbers at their Coles Road headquarters Tuesday night showing that Bianchini received 5,814 votes—a total they said included absentee ballots.

County officials did stress on Wednesday that no one should expect anything to change with local, county or state elections' reported outcomes once the four districts' totals are added.

"It doesn't affect the outcome of the election," Camden County spokeswoman Joyce Gabriel said.

Pearl would have to petition the Superior Court in Camden to retrieve cartridges from the four machines anytime before Wednesday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m. 

Voting machines are impounded in New Jersey for a 15-day period so as to allow anyone wishing to request a recount to do so.

In Pennsauken, a District 21 machine was put aside due to the same low-battery alert as the one experienced at the American Legion Post, Pearl said.

In Haddonfield, a District 1 poll worker prematurely opened a machine for voting, then accidentally shut it down, resulting in the machine being rendered inoperable.

In Somerdale, a District 3 poll worker was unable to get a key to open the machine, so a replacement was sent.

In addition to the four Camden County districts where vote totals are being held up, county election officials still must add absentee and provisional ballot counts to the unofficial totals before certifying the election results.

A provisional ballot is used to record an individual's vote if his or her eligibility is questioned at the polling place. Common reasons for the use of provisional ballots are voters failing to notify the county commissioner of registration of a change of address, or incomplete registration information in a poll book.

julia donahue November 10, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Low batteries?? Really??? C'mon --whoever is supposed to be servicing machines used every two years -- and scheduled that far in advance -- ought to be let go...
Michelle Wolfson November 10, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Seriously? One would think that it would be someone's job to make sure that the BATTERIES in the voting machines were, you know, WORKING!? That is kind of important, don't you think?
Big Daddy 1 November 10, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Charles Lewis school moved the voting from the front lobby to the far rear of the school. There were no signs in the front lot telling voters of the relocation. We managed to find it by driving around. There were no other voters there at the time (probably couldn't find it). I wonder how many other irregularities are out there.
Jimmy November 13, 2011 at 06:31 AM
There were alot of irregularities. What is it with Camden County and this Superintendent Phyllis Pearl always coming in with late returns. They must have a lot of covering up, I meant cleaning up to do before these machines,books and ballots hit the Secretary of States office. Wonder if other surprises are waiting to come out and be revealed.
Sue November 13, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Who checks the machines? Someone should be accountable. Accountability is what is lacking in this Township! As for the irregularities, this seems to be something that more and more people are talking about. My sisters location had been changed, which she wasn't aware of. Another person mentioned that a voter was very upset, after having "issues" with a machine during voting. I am not sure why this Township always seems to have issues, but it is something that needs to be looked into! If there were issues with one district, they all should be checked.
Justin November 19, 2011 at 04:36 AM
This is the district Lovett wins with a landslide.

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