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Elections 2015

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Concerns About Voter Manipulation Surface at Morris County Polling Place

‘Misinformed’ poll worker mistakenly set up separate voting machines for Democrats and Republicans; problem rectified within hour

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Although it didn’t grab the headlines like the Democrats’ Assembly wins, another big story coming out of Tuesday’s election were allegations of voter manipulation in Morris County, a solidly Republican area of the state where Gov. Chris Christie lives.

John Currie, chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, said he was “deeply concerned” about reports that the Convent Station polling location in Morris County was initially set up with voting machines segregated for Democrats and for Republicans.

Dale Kramer, administrator of the Morris County Board of Elections, confirmed that such an arrangement was in place for about an hour after the polls opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday, but said it was not an attempt to influence what turned out to be a close election for local office in Morris Township. Instead, it was as an honest mistake by an inexperienced poll worker who used a setup similar to one that’s employed for primary elections, and it was addressed within an hour.

“Absolutely not, the poll worker was just misinformed,” Kramer said. “Absolutely no malice there.”

Still, Jesse Burns, interim executive director of the New Jersey League of Women Voters, said the episode in Morris County reinforces the important role that poll workers play in New Jersey elections and the need for strong training, something her organization emphasizes.

“I trust that the Board of Elections did correct the situation right away,” Burns said. “One vote is too many to be misdirected.”

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