As the national focus shifts to voter integrity, I am proud to ensure the election process in Mercer County is safer than ever. We are among several of New Jersey’s leading Counties when it comes to election safety and efficiency. As County Clerk, I advocated for a verifiable, auditable paper trail for our voters and I’m very proud to announce that in 2021, Mercer County purchased optical scan voting machines that indeed, have this verified paper trail.
I thank Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature for providing the funding for New Jersey counties to purchase new paper-based ballot voting equipment. County Executive Brian Hughes and the Mercer County Commissioners made this purchase a reality because they too understand the importance of maintaining the integrity of our election process. Finally, the input of public participants, especially Irene Goldman and Stephanie Harris of the Voter Integrity Task Force, was important in Mercer County’s decision on choosing a “paper trail” voting system have would indeed ensure confidence in the accuracy and integrity of Mercer County election results.
By updating our voting systems to protect us from computer interference by both domestic and foreign actors, Mercer County can ensure the results reported on election night are accurate and transparent. Votes are cast on paper with a computer backup.
The machines purchased by Mercer County were the Dominion ICP machines and tabulators. They use advanced optical scanning technology. This is considered to be the safest way to vote among voter safety experts because while computers may be hacked, paper cannot. After you cast your vote on a paper ballot and you scan it into the tabulator, the vote is recorded both on computer and on paper. The paper is then dropped into a bin which can be accessed if there is a question about the outcome of the election. You do not walk away with a paper receipt, but you can rest assured there is a verified back-up for your vote.
The County also purchased electronic poll books manufactured by Tenex. These highly advanced E-Poll books communicate with each other so that our poll workers will know if someone tries to vote twice, or if someone has already received a vote by mail ballot.
By having a verified, auditable paper trail for all election results, we can safeguard our democracy and election process. I believe the only way to strengthen our democracy is to make sure we can all participate in it, and that the people have trust in the voting results and process. The County Clerk’s office posts and records Election Results. We work closely with the County’s other election offices to make the Mercer voting experience a positive one. Please know that my staff and I are always here to answer questions and concerns regarding the new voting machines, drop boxes, early voting sites and more at Mercervotes@mercercounty.org. I encourage you to visit us online at https://www.mercercounty.org/government/county-clerk/elections
Paula Sollami Covello, Esq.
Mercer County Clerk
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