New Jersey Republican candidate for Governor Jack Ciattarelli is claiming election technology errors in a system put in place by Governor Phil Murphy has resulted in 70,000 provisional ballots statewide. Ciattarelli said errors at the polls forced voters to cast 70,000 provisional ballots and says that they have not yet been counted.
Today, Murphy called upon Ciattarelli to concede the election, but a statement by the Ciattarelli campaign later in the day rebuked Murphy’s challenge. Murphy told Ciattarelli he has no path to victory, but Ciattarelli’s campaign disagrees.
Currently, 66,405 votes separate Jack Ciattarelli (1,219,906) and Governor Phil Murphy (1,285,351) – a margin of 2.6% of the vote.
“As a result of Governor Murphy’s rush to implement early voting, technology errors resulted in voters being forced to cast approximately 70,000 provisional ballots which have yet to be counted,” Ciattarelli said in a statement, hinting at a prolonged battle over the 2021 election results.
Last week, Ciattarelli and his team announced they were assembling a team of lawyers to ensure election integrity in New Jersey.
“An unknown number of vote-by-mail ballots are still being received through today and have yet to be counted.Based on information and belief, there is an unknown number of emergency ballots that are yet to be reported by County Clerks,” Ciattarelli said.
Today, Ciattarelli’s lawyer spoke on behalf of the candidate who has remained mostly quiet since last week’s election loss, saying Ciattarelli is not ruling out a ballot recount.
“Waiting an additional day or two for all votes to be counted should not be controversial,” said Ciattarelli legal counsel Mark Sheridan. “Let me be clear, no one on this team is alleging fraud or malfeasance, as we have not seen any credible evidence of that. However, the new law Governor Murphy and state Democrats rushed to enact led to this disjointed and excruciatingly slow vote counting process. We still have vote-by-mail ballots outstanding and approximately 70,000 provisional ballots to be counted. At this time, we do not expect the provisional vote count to end with Jack Ciattarelli in the lead. However, that count may reduce the margin for Governor Murphy enough to warrant a full recount. We will make the decision to pursue a recount based on all of the facts, which includes that this is the first time New Jersey is conducting an election under the new law, using new technology and vote counting procedures.”
Joseph Rullo, Ciattarelli’s opponent in the 2017 gubernatorial primary election agreed, saying that every legal vote must be counted and if necessary, a forensic audit of New Jersey’s election results is in order. Rullo said an audit should be conducted for both 2020 and 2021 with so many mail-in ballots in play in New Jersey’s elections.
A recount, Ciattarelli’s team feels could fall in their favor, but statewide recount could also put other Republican victories in close races in jeopardy, such as the 2,000 vote loss by Steve Sweeny to political unknown Ed Durr in the New Jersey Senate.