In today’s mail, I received my official ballot for November’s election – but, instead of providing me with the ability to vote in my own congressional district, it illegally offered me the ability to vote in a neighboring district.
While such a scenario is alarming in itself, it is especially concerning when one considers that my district (NJ-9) is solidly Democratic, but the neighboring district (NJ-5) swings back and forth between parties; shifting votes from NJ-9 to NJ-5 could easily change the results of the NJ-5 election without impacting NJ-9. (While other ballots may have been switched in the other direction, it is clear that NJ-5 voters will demand corrected ballots – it remains unclear as to how NJ-9 voters will be prevented from casting their official NJ-5 ballots even after they are sent new ballots – without simultaneously disenfranchising people, such as the folks who voted using the incorrect ballots without realizing the error.) Perhaps even scarier is the realization that our if election-management systems lack even basic safeguards against serious mistakes or fraud, there may be all sorts of other irregularities about which we do not yet know.
In June, I wrote about serious problems that occurred during the May municipal elections in New Jersey – some of which have since led to election results being thrown out, and to criminal charges being levied against various elected officials and others. I said then that without major improvements, the problems seen in May “would become ominous harbingers of what our nation would experience in November.” But, sadly, at least locally, no significant improvements were made, and, as today’s mail showed beyond any shadow of a doubt, New Jersey remains incapable of conducting a fair mail-in-ballot-only election.
If it desires that Americans will trust the results of the November election, the federal government and its enforcement agencies must step in now to ensure the integrity of the election, and to protect the rights of Americans to have their voices heard and their votes counted.