Monmouth County officials — for yet another year — are trying to figure out how election results ended up so jumbled online that they made a handful of candidates and referendum questions look like they lost when they actually won. Monmouth County officials said they believe staff from Dominion Voting Services, the county’s elections software vendor, accidentally “deleted” results Tuesday night from the vote-by-mail ballots. The mailed ballot numbers were later recovered and added to the final tally online Wednesday morning. Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon apologized to candidates whose results changed and vowed to push for a solution from Dominion. “Our problems with Dominion have become chronic and will not be tolerated. We are continuing to investigate the situation and will be holding Dominion fully accountable,” she said in a five-paragraph statement issued Wednesday morning. The flaws came in an off-year election where New Jersey had anemic voter turnout. Monmouth and Ocean counties had voter turnouts of 23 percent.
But for candidates, the problem resulted in yet another uncertain election night in Monmouth County. For example, on Tuesday night, it appeared that Belmar voters had defeated a question that sought funding to rebuild Taylor Pavilion. In Neptune City, it appeared that council candidate Michael Skudera had lost his bid for Borough Council. On Wednesday, however, both were reversed — Belmar voters had approved the pavilion, and Skudera had won his race in Neptune City by just one vote, according to unofficial results.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Giordano Hanlon said this year’s glitch happened as a Dominion staffer was manually uploading ballot results from a voting machine cartridge. When that data was put into the computer system, the voting machine software inadvertently erased the mail-in ballot results. The same issue occurred in Morris County, she said.