TRENTON – Legislation seeking to add another layer of protection against voting machine error by requiring the Secretary of State to examine and recertify voting machines both annually and when there are modifications to the software on the machines cleared the State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, is partly in response to a November 2022 school board election in Monmouth County where the wrong candidate was initially declared the winner and sworn in before an audit and subsequent hand recount revealed that an error had occurred during an improper software installation the previous July. After a court-ordered recount, the initial winner was determined to have lost by four votes.
“The privilege to vote is a right we all hold dear. Those who do their civic duty and take the time and effort to cast a ballot must have the assurance that their vote taken will be counted but once, and counted correctly. This legislation is one more safeguard we can implement to make sure every vote is recorded and tabulated accurately,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).
Under the bill, as part of the examination and recertification of voting machines, the Secretary of State would be required to develop a test and a check list to confirm that each voting machine is operating properly and is able to accurately record and tabulate all of the votes cast for each election.
The bill, S-3598, was released from committee on a vote of 4-0.