SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ - Somerset County Sheriff’s candidate Tim Pino, of Bridgewater, and his team are planning to file an election complaint with the attorney general’s office following evidence of voting irregularities in the June 4 primary election, particularly at a voting location in Bridgewater, according to a release from the campaign.
According to the release, the campaign got confirmation from the county board of elections that a Bridgewater polling location in Bradley Gardens did not have voting machines for a couple hours and that the opponent’s campaign team had unauthorized access to the Board of Elections Back Ballot Room.
On June 4, voters went to the polls to choose between Pino and North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti to serve as the Republican candidate for Somerset County Sheriff in the November general elections. Results reported that night, the release said, found a slim lead for Parenti, and many across the county said the primary was too close to call.
The county later finalized the results in favor of Parenti, with him earning 7,120 votes to Pino's 6,882.
In the weeks following the election, the release said, more questions arose from Pino’s campaign as the public shared stories with him about voting irregularities around the county.
“Over the past several weeks, our campaign has followed up on every single tip we received,” Joseph Lamont, Jr., former 1st Undersheriff of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for 15 years, said in the release.
According to the release, the Somerset County Board of Elections confirmed July 25 that there were no voting machines available to the public at the Bradley Gardens Fire Department at the start of voting the morning of June 4. In addition, the release said, the Emergency Paper Voting Ballots were with the missing machines.
“This coincidentally happens to be Tim’s best polling district in the entire county, where he had a 2:1 to 3:1 voting ratio,” Maxine Opida, director of community outreach for the Pino campaign, said in the release.
In addition, the release said, the campaign confirmed that a high ranking member of Parenti’s political campaign was granted access to the board of elections back ballot room after the election. The release said that about a week after the election, a ballot found to be a vote for Pino was found on a radiator in that room.
“As a former Democratic nominee for Somerset County Sheriff, I find it very disturbing what our campaign team has learned since election night,” Bridgewater resident Richard Myers said in the release.
Pino said in the release that his campaign is also in possession of a possible forged poll worker document, but declined to comment further on the findings, and said he will be following up with Franklin Township Mayor Chris Kelly about voting irregularities he saw on Election Day.
Opida said in the release that an attorney general investigation into the matter is imminent.
“Usually political races end on election night, but I guess one of the reasons I am in this position today is because the residents of the county wanted an outsider who would truly police the system, so they are getting that now, no need to wait until November,” Pino said in the release.