Many Republican voters in one New Jersey community got a surprise when they opened their mail ballots for a July 7 primary.
Their choices were all Democrats.
Between 500 and 700 Republicans received the wrong ballots out of about 2,400 enrolled Republicans in Bernardsville, NJ.com reported.
“The slate of candidates was all Democrat from Joe Biden down to dogcatcher, but on the upper right it clearly stated it was a Republican ballot and it had my name and correct information on the return envelope,” Karen Gardner, the chairwoman of the Bernardsville Republican Municipal Committee, said.
The error was laid at the door of the printing company that sent out the ballots, but the government still had a role in the mixup.
Usually, the Somerset County clerk’s office would do the printing. However, after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy ordered every voter to receive a ballot in the mail, the job was farmed out.
“If we had had a greater lead time when we were sending out these ballots, we would have been able to do the ballot insertion in-house and this error would have been caught,” Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter said.
Corrected ballots were sent last week, Peter said.
Bob Fetterly, the president of Reliance Graphics, the company tasked with printing and mailing the ballots, called the mistake a human error.
“It was a misprint,” he said. “Human error. We mailed over 1.5 million ballots in the last couple of weeks and 500 went astray. So we apologized for it, but it was a human error… we had a success rate of 99.99 percent.”
Peter told The Bernardsville News “that one of the press workers, when he was switching out the plates, didn’t switch out the bullet at the top that says Republican.”
Bernardsville Republicans were less than willing to let bygones be bygones.
You can’t have printer errors. I think that’s a problem,” Republican Mayor Jane Canose said.
Peter said such an error should not happen again, but added that the state needs to give communities more time if every voter is expected to be mailed a ballot for the November election.
“Come November, I have implored the governor and everybody in the legislature that I can talk to … that if we do have an all or mainly vote-by-mail election that that decision be made no later than August 1st so that we would have adequate time to prepare these ballots and we can do the insertion in our office to ensure quality control,” he said.