In the middle of a vast warehouse of Gloucester County voting machines last Wednesday, Gary Plummer replaced chips and resealed some of the 520 voting devices. Plummer’s Medford-based Election Support & Services Inc. has been contracted by several New Jersey counties — including Burlington and Camden — to help them comply with a controversial Superior Court order.
In February 2010, Judge Linda Feinberg ruled New Jersey’s11,000 voting machines be disconnected from the Internet and re-evaluated by a panel of experts, and that anyone who works with or on voting machines be subject to a criminal background check.
Feinberg’s order is being appealed by Rutgers University’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic and the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action, neither of which believes the court order goes far enough.
Almost every county in the state is paying for chips to be replaced and machines sealed, according to Mark Harris, director of county election operations, who sat on a state panel of voting machine experts.
In Burlington County, Plummer’s company is almost done working on about 520 machines, at a cost of $31,200. In Camden County, work is about half done on 800 machines, a job that will cost about $32,000.
“It’s taken four weeks and there’s a lot more to do,” Plummer said, adding each county contracted separately because of their different workloads.
Gloucester cut what would’ve been a $70,000 project to $10,000, by having Harris prepare machines for Plummer’s company. But county election superintendents consider his efforts unnecessary.
Gloucester County Superintendent of Elections Stephanie Salvatore offered as proof the results of the county’s first countywide recount in her 16 years there. After the 2010 general election, a recount proved the machines were 100 percent accurate, as Republican Freeholders Larry Wallace and Vincent Nestore edged out Democrats Heather Simmons and Bob Zimmerman.
“The results didn’t change, except for a pair of paper mail-in ballots that were marked with the wrong color ink,” Salvatore said. “I have 100 percent confidence in these machines.”