Why is the N.J. AG probing Red Monmouth’s election snafus but not Blue Mercer’s?

News that New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin intends to probe vote tabulation errors in Monmouth County after ignoring the Election Day meltdown in Mercer County is raising eyebrows in state political circles, and Republicans are insisting that the ex-Murphy counsel’s choice of enforcement is transparently partisan.

“What we are seeing today is a ‘Tale of Two Counties,’” said NJGOP Chairman Bob Hugin on Tuesday. “In Monmouth County, an isolated incident receives prompt attention from the Attorney General at the demand of a Democratic Senator, while in Mercer County, where there was a countywide failure of voting machines, the NJGOP has yet to receive a response to its November request for an investigation. Keep in mind: this total abdication of duty follows Governor Murphy’s stunning refusal to appoint a Deputy Superintendent of Elections – a Republican position – before Election Day.”

The Democrat Senator referenced by Hugin is Vin Gopal (D-11), widely considered one of Election 2023’s most vulnerable incumbents.

In Monmouth, an Election Day 2022 ES&S vote tabulation error reportedly led to double counts in six districts across four different municipalities. The error may have changed the result of one narrowly-decided school board contest.

In Mercer, the county prosecutor cited “miscommunication” between Dominion Voting Systems and the ballot printer. Voters at 130 polling places in Mercer County needed to cast a standard ballot deposited din an emergency slot which led to widespread confusion. No state investigation has been reported or announced in the capital county.

The neighboring Central Jersey counties may share a border but their voting preferences couldn’t be any more different. Mercer is a deep blue county where Democrats control every level of county government; the county gave Phil Murphy 65.1% of its vote in 2021. Meanwhile, GOP-dominated Monmouth went for GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli two years ago, 58.8% to 40.3%.

“These parallel systems of justice demonstrate just how nakedly partisan the Attorney General’s office has become in Phil Murphy’s woke administration,” Hugin added. “This incident only further emphasizes the need to elect a Republican check on Murphy’s reign of terror this November.”

Meanwhile, state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) argued that what’s needed is reform of the kind contained in his bill (S-238) mandating paper ballots for in-person voters in addition to open-source software code for optical scanners.

“If this incident in Monmouth County has taught us anything it’s that we need to ensure transparency of the mechanisms of voting software and hardware. Currently, the proprietary process is cloaked in secrecy, and neither the voting public nor the media have access to any preliminary data,” said Pennacchio. “However, requiring the use of open-source coding will allow developers and coding experts to comb through the programs and identify flaws and security vulnerabilities. This will increase oversight and public confidence in the process.”

Matt Rooney
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MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.