The county and the courts had already expressed it but the voters of Fairfield Township made it official — again. Democratic County Committee candidates Cindy and Ernie Zirkle were elected Tuesday over competitors Mark and Vivian Henry, according to unofficial online results from the county Board of Elections.
Mail-in ballots had not been recorded by 10:30 p.m. but the Zirkles took 33 percent of the vote over the Henrys’ 17 percent. “We don’t trust the system,” said Cindy Zirkle, so a substantial number of absentee ballots were distributed.
“It’s a shame,” Zirkle began late Tuesday night, that certain opposition parties “refused to accept the Board of Elections’ admission.” That admission being Board Director Lizbeth Hernandez stating she inadvertently mismatched the names on the ballots and the results declared in June were the exact opposite.
Campaigning by Zirkle opposition was reportedly going on Tuesday at the township municipal building, also the polling place.
Back on Primary Election day in June, the Henrys came out victorious and the Zirkles questioned township voters.
Eventually, upwards of 30 affidavits from Zirkle voters were collected saying they voted for the pair. The case went to court and the reliability of the electronic voting machine used in Fairfield was brought into question.
A new election, done solely on paper ballots, was desired but would violate state election laws. The case soon went to court and an expert witness was granted by Superior Court Judge David Krell.
That witness, Princeton University Computer Science Department Chair Andrew Appel, came to the county board of elections office over the summer. Following his inspection of Fairfield election-related documents and computers, he suspected information had been deleted.
County computer system analyst Jason Cossaboon states in court documents he “noticed the computer was running very slowly” after being ordered to ensure certain security software had been installed.
The deletions were recorded on the computer a day before Appel’s visit, though the county states nothing pertaining to the election was lost.
Appel disagrees at length in a four-part dissection of the Fairfield case on Princeton website www.freedom-to-tinker.com.