Election integrity should be an important issue regardless of which party you are registered to or most often support. Having votes count properly should be top of mind in every cycle. Unfortunately, politicians on both sides of the issue only call out fraud, mistakes and abuses when it fits their own narrative.

Thankfully, despite the Republican Party in New Jersey and the Democratic majority in Trenton largely ignoring discrepancies reported locally, we have some courageous local leaders calling out mistakes, whether they were by accident or other.

One of the local leaders who stand up for the people he represents is Old Bridge Councilman Mark Razzoli. Mark was down by 11 votes on Election Day when he reported some things that may have contributed to the unexpected unofficial results.

First, he pointed out that voting machines in precincts where he was polling very strongly were down for several hours in the morning. His team also discovered that several dozen ballots were mistakenly switched and people ended up voting in the wrong ward. All this added up to a lawsuit that resulted in the judge ordering a new election. That election is taking place on Tuesday, March 22.

If you live in Old Bridge, you will have an opportunity to vote as if it is a normal Election Day and head to your polling place to cast a vote. Thankfully Mark Razzoli had the courage to speak up instead of pretending that the problem doesn't exist.

Even if mistakes are innocent, they should not be ignored.

The last GOP nominee for governor is one of those with his head in the sand.

Not only did he lose to Phil Murphy because he failed to stand up for small businesses and families, ignoring some basic and sound advice, but based on his recent comments to at least one local GOP group, he is so afraid to upset the power brokers in both parties, he's telling people to stop worrying about the potential of voter fraud.

It's one thing to look forward and recognize that past elections are not going to be over-turned. It's another to act as if it's a "conspiracy theory" to think that fraud exists. Even if mistakes are innocent, they should not be ignored.

Voters deserve strength. Voters deserve courage. Voters deserve candidates who are not afraid to fight to make sure every legal vote counts. Close elections should be audited. Identification should be shown at polling places. It's time to make sure that your vote is counted.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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