County workers begin scanning ballots in N.J.

mail-in ballot count
Somerset County Board of Elections staff members remove ballots from certificate envelopes in preparation for being scanned on Wednesday.

County boards of elections began counting ballots for the general election on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Mercer County officials scanned ballots from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and will continue to scan ballots Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., said Anthony Francioso, Chairman of the Mercer County Board of Elections.

The Somerset County Board of Elections also began scanning ballots Wednesday. Officials in Somerset County said they have received a record number of vote-by-mail ballots for the 2020 general election. Officials there scanned 23,800 ballots on Wednesday out of about 123,000 ballots submitted. The count already exceeded the total number of Somerset County mail-in ballots from the last presidential election by more than 10,000 ballots, officials said. Somerset County Board of Elections Administrator Jerry Midgette said more than 100 county employees, supported by National Guard members, are working cooperatively to receive, verify, open, count, and secure every ballot to ensure a fair election. Each person who works at or visits the secure counting site, including campaign challengers and elected officials, must fill out a form attesting to their health status, wear personal protective equipment, and practice social distancing at all times. Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter says he expects around 180,000 ballots to be cast in total based on the ballots sent, the more than 10,000 new voters registering since Labor Day, and the volume of ballots returned early.

Officials across the state are encouraging voters to submit their ballots as early as possible to help ensure that the ballots are received in time.

Election results in New Jersey will not be tallied and posted by county clerks until after the polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.