NJ Spotlight’s Colleen O’Dea Reports

About one in every 10 people who mailed in ballots in last month’s special elections had their votes rejected, which could forebode the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of New Jerseyans in next month’s primaries.

An NJ Spotlight analysis of the vote-by-mail ballots cast in 31 municipalities that held nonpartisan municipal, school board or special elections on May 12 — an entirely mail-in election — found that election officials did not count 9.6% of ballots sent in. A database provided by the state Division of Elections shows more than a dozen reasons for rejecting ballots. Most commonly, officials did not count ballots because the signature on the ballot did not match the one on file, the ballot arrived too late or the required certificate was not enclosed.