Mercer County Prosecutor: ‘Miscommunication’ cause of voting machine failure on Election Day

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The widespread voting machine breakdowns in Mercer County on Election Day was caused by a “miscommunication” between Dominion Voting Systems and the company that printed the ballots, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri.

Onofri launched an investigation into the failure of the voting machines at the request of Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello. The issue was discovered at one of the polling places between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. Nov. 8, causing a delay while Mercer County election officials scrambled to find a solution.

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Onofri reported the results of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office’s investigation to the Mercer County Board of County Commissioners at its Nov. 21 meeting.

“My office determined that there was not any vote tampering nor criminal intent. There was a miscommunication between Dominion Voting Systems and Royal Printing,” Onofri told the County Commissioners.

At its Nov. 10 meeting, the Mercer County Board of Elections attributed the breakdown of the voting machines to malfunctioning tabulators that scan voters’ ballots.

The Dominion voting machines rejected the ballots, possibly because of a printing error on the ballot that did not allow the tabulators to “read” the ballot, officials said.

A back-up plan was put into place by 9 a.m. Officials decided to allow voters to cast their paper ballots and to skip the on-site scanning of the completed ballots by the tabulators in the voting machines.

Voters dropped their completed ballots into a sealed box, whose contents were placed into special red bags and delivered to be hand-counted at the Mercer County Board of Elections office on Spruce Street in Lawrence Township.

Workers at the Mercer County Board of Elections began hand-counting the ballots after voting ended at 8 p.m. on Election Day, and worked until 1 a.m. Nov. 9, officials said. They resumed counting the ballots a few hours later and completed the task by late afternoon, officials said.

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