VENTNOR — An unknown number of Ventnor residents received Hammonton’s sample ballots in a mix-up local officials are blaming on a mailing house.
Dennis Kelly, of Ventnor, said he and his wife got the incorrect ballot in the mail Tuesday, a week before voting begins.
“It had nothing for Ventnor,” Kelly said. “So I called the county clerk’s office.”
Addresses are sent by the Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections to the mailing house, said county Clerk Ed McGettigan.
He said the Clerk’s Office is responsible for the contents of the sample ballot and the printing, not the mailing.
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“We are investigating the issue and have confirmed less than a handful of voters as being impacted at this time,” Superintendent of Elections Maureen Bugdon said in an email Wednesday afternoon. “This office did reach out and speak with these individuals as we take voting rights, notices and materials very seriously.”
She said her office is continuing due diligence “to be sure that this is just an isolated incident that occurred somewhere between the sample ballot printer and the mailing house as all information transmitted by Atlantic County election officials was, to the best of our knowledge, correct and in order.”
Bugdon said impacted voters have been sent a correct sample ballot both electronically and via mail.
Kelly’s ballot did have a name he recognized — Joe Giralo, who is running for re-election in Hammonton.
“I said, ‘He’s from Hammonton, what’s going on?’” Kelly said.
And it had Assembly candidates’ names he didn’t recognize, because Hammonton is the only Atlantic County town in the 8th Legislative District that also includes parts of Burlington and Camden counties.
The 2nd District candidates he should have seen for Assembly were incumbent Democrats Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, and Republican challengers Phil Guenther and John Risley.
McGettigan said he doesn’t expect the problem to affect Tuesday’s primary election, as the primary function of the sample ballot is to verify addresses.
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“It’s to verify the voter lives where they say they live,” McGettigan said. Sample ballots have been online for about 45 days.
Sample ballots must be mailed on or before noon on May 29, the Wednesday preceding the election, according to the county clerk’s 2019 primary election timeline.
All Atlantic County voters can review their 2019 Primary election ballot at atlanticcountyclerk.org/elections by selecting “2019 Official Primary Election Ballot” and scrolling to their town, ward and/or district.
Staff Writer Avalon Zoppo contributed to this report.