‘Machine error’ led to 7,000 incorrect mail-in ballots in NJ town
TEANECK — Bergen County election officials have apologized for a machine error that led to several thousand township voters receiving mail-in ballots listing the wrong congressional candidates.
Bergen County Clerk John Hogan said out of 28,151 ballots mailed to registered Teaneck voters, more than a quarter of them — 6,867 voters — had received an incorrect ballot due to the "programming error by the mail house."
Hogan said with his staff of just seven people, they had to use an outside vendor to keep up with the needs of this year's mainly mail-in ballot general election.
Teaneck township, with a population of more than 40,600 based on 2018 data, is split between New Jersey’s 5th and 9th Congressional districts.
Hogan said 5,542 corrected mail-in ballots were being sent to Teaneck voters in the 9th Congressional District, while the rest (1,325 corrected ballots) were being sent out to the 5th Congressional District.
"We fully understand the impact of this error and are doing all we can to not only fix this, but also make sure it never happens again," according to the letter sent to voters and posted online by the Bergen County Clerk’s Elections Division.
Teaneck voters who received the wrong ballots were being mailed replacements labeled "CORRECT BALLOT" on both the outer and return envelopes, Hogan said.
The process of reprinting all the supplies was underway as of Wednesday and the replacements would be mailed out by week's end, according to the posted letter.
Voters were instructed to complete and return the correct ballot, "even if you have cast the previously issued ballot, as the Board of Elections has procedures in place for replacing the old ballot with the correct ballot" if it was already submitted.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell is running for reelection in the 9th District, which includes parts of Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties. He faces Republican Billy Prempeh and third party candidate Chris Auriemma (Veteran For Change Party).
The 5th Congressional District includes much of the northern portions of Warren, Sussex, Passaic and Bergen counties. Democratic U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer is running for reelection against Republican challenger Frank Pallotta. A third candidate, Louis Vellucci (American Values Party) also is on the ballot.
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