Voters here will again head to the polls and select their township representatives for county Democratic Committee. A second election one week from Tuesday comes per the request of Superior Court Judge David Krell. The results from the June election were first disputed by candidates and later ruled on by Krell earlier this month.
He also ordered the case be turned over to the Division of Criminal Justice, which is under the state Attorney General’s office, for consideration of a full investigation. It is still unclear where that investigation stands. A response from the Division of Criminal Justice was not received as of press time.
Attorney Samuel Serata, who represents candidates Ernie and Cindy Zirkle, said Monday he believed Krell signed his court order last week and the criminal justice division would have likely just received it. “It will be at least a month before any report comes out,” said Serata.
The New Jersey Division of Elections is within the State Department but spokesman Shawn Crisafulli said Monday the state Attorney General’s Office would have to comment on the case.
As the state Attorney General’s Office represents the county Board of Elections, “they would have the judge’s order and know what it said or what it entailed.
They would know where everything stands at the moment,” Crisafulli said in an email.
On Primary Election day here back in June, the Zirkles ran against Vivian and Mark Henry to represent District 3 in Fairfield for county Democratic Committee.
The results were 34 for Vivian, 33 for Mark and 10 for Cindy, 9 for Ernie. The Zirkles had their doubts about the results and eventually collected 30 affidavits from residents stating they voted for the couple.
County Board of Elections Director Lizbeth Hernandez said her own human error and that of warehouse testers missed the swapping of the names when the machine used in Fairfield was programmed.
In July, when the case drifted toward the fallibility of the Sequoia AVC Advantage voting machine, Krell ordered Princeton University Computer Science Department Chair Andrew Appel to investigate. Cumberland County has 120 of such machines. All were recently upgraded except the one used in Fairfield, as it had been impounded.
Appel arrived at the county Board of Elections office and reviewed documents, later determining pertinent files to his investigation had been deleted the day before his visit. County computer system analyst Jason Cossaboon said he “noticed the computer was running very slowly” after being ordered to ensure certain security software had been installed.
Cossaboon said no files related to the June election were deleted in his attempts to speed up the laptop used in election programming.
On his website, Appel details his discontent and believes “there is enough evidence of a cover-up that a Superior Court judge has referred the matter to the State prosecutor’s office.”