BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Although the deadline for mailing, dropping or delivering ballots has passed two days ago, results are still not in for Union County elections. With the mostly-by-mail New Jersey Primary on Tuesday comes a longer wait for official election returns. TAPinto will provide local election results as soon as they are made available.
There have been no official election returns posted for the Berkeley Heights Township Council race.
Four Republican candidates are vying for their party's nomination for Township Council in Berkeley Heights. The candidates running are incumbent Jeanne Kingsley with running mate and first time candidate Jeffrey Varnerin, and fourth time candidate Edmund Tom Maciewjewski and second time candidate George de Luna.
When Berkeley Heights Township Clerk Ana Minkoff inquired about the lack of update on the election return, the County Election Board advised her the counting of the vote by mail ballots will not start until July 16, 2020. They provided Minkoff with the following explanation to the delay:
The Election Board will be tabulating the vote by mail ballots from Berkeley Heights on Thursday, July 16, 2020 starting at 11:30am.
Republican voters in Berkeley Heights received ballots which contained a printing error, which required the County Clerk’s Office to issue corrective ballots to all Republican voters in Berkeley Heights. As a matter of process, when voted ballots are received by the Election Board, they are scanned into the State Voter Registration System (SVRS) as received. If a corrective ballot is returned, we scan the ballot to see if the voter has already returned a ballot. If the SVRS indicates that a ballot has already been returned by a voter, we immediately pull the first ballot and replace it with the voted corrective ballot. This is a manual process. If the voter has not already returned a ballot, the corrective ballot is received and processed.
Further, the Governor’s Executive Order Number 144, has extended the deadline to canvass and count ballots postmarked on or before Election Day. The new deadline to receive ballots through the mail is July 14th at 8:00pm. This means, our office will continue to receive and accept voted corrective ballots for an additional week after Election Day.
If the Union County Board of Elections were to tabulate vote by mail ballots received from Berkeley Heights on Election Day, the possibility exists that a voter’s true intent would not have been counted because their corrective ballot may still be in the mail. If it is in the mail and the ballot with the error was counted, their corrective ballot would not be counted.
Additionally, to maintain the voters’ anonymity during this process, the Union County Board of Elections is waiting until the July 14th deadline, when all ballots which can be canvassed have been received.
After the July 14th deadline, the Union County Board of Elections will be canvassing provisional ballots voted by Berkeley Heights voters on Election Day. This process ensures that only one vote is counted. A vote by mail ballot received by their office by the deadline takes precedent over a provisional ballot. They will canvass provisional ballots on July 15th.
A final public inspection period will take place on Thursday, July 16 from 9am – 10am. Persons wishing to inspect vote by mail ballots must notify our office in writing within (24) hours of the inspection period. The public inspection period and the tabulation of the vote by mail and provisional ballots will take place at the Union County Juvenile Detention Center, 1075 Edward Street, Linden, NJ 07036, starting at 11:30am.
The Union County Board of Elections has made every effort to maintain the integrity of this election and protect the anonymity of our voters’ votes.