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Voting machine problems force Middletown, N.J. to use the paper ballot

paperballot110612_optBY ANDREW LAGOMARSINO
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. - You can call me Nervous Nellie, but I was always leary and afraid of the computerized vote. Afraid that it might vanish without getting counted.

Well, I got my wish today.

The voting machines in Middletown, N.J., went a bit haywire at my polling place and paper ballots were the norm.

I sensed that this Election Day would be different because New Jersey scrambled to relocate scores of polling places that had become unusable because of power failures, flooding or evacuations.

So I walk into my regular polling location, Thorne Middle School in Port Monmouth, and was given an envelope in which to place a paper ballot that would be hand-counted.

I had to borrow a pen from a voting supervisor, and then proceeded to sit at a table and fill out the ballot. I made sure I was neat as I colored in all the circles for all the candidates I was voting for. Last time I voted like this, I believe, was for class president in high school.

But it got the job done.

"I have been at the Thorne polling location since 6 a.m. this morning acting as a Democratic challenger and to say that there are issues at the polls may be an understatement,” said Mike Morris.

“This voting location at Thorne represents 15 percent of Middletown voting districts (Districts 7,15,17, 26, 27,37 and 46) and I am now hearing about similar issues at most all the Middletown polling places.”

Middletown Township, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, has a total population of 66,522, making it New Jersey’s 16th largest municipality.

For some reason, the voting machines went a bit whacky when one voted on the two ballot questions regarding the higher education bond and judges benefits.

“The machines would register if you voted “yes” on both questions or “no” for each…but if you split and divided your vote, the voting machine had a problem,” added Morris.

Oh, the marvels of modern technology.

“I think it will be a very long night,” Morris deadpanned.

 

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