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Department of Administration

Office of Communications

For Immediate Release

Monday, March 4, 2024

Atlantic County Officials Have Concerns About Potential Changes to Election Ballots

Atlantic County officials are concerned about a lawsuit filed by Congressman Andy Kim against 19 county clerks that use the county line system to organize candidates on election ballots. A decision in Kim’s favor would require the reformatting of sample ballots, mail-in-ballots and return envelopes among other possible revisions at yet-to-be-determined costs to taxpayers.

A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for March 18, one week before the filing deadline for the June 4 primary, with a decision by a federal judge expected by April 5.

“If Kim is successful in his lawsuit, it will leave insufficient time for county clerks to implement the necessary revisions to meet deadlines for the primary election processes,” according to Atlantic County Clerk Joe Giralo.

The deadline for county clerks to mail sample ballots is May 22. The early voting period is May 29 to June 2 with primary election day on June 4.

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson shares Giralo’s concerns.

“This is about much more than politics. My first priority is to my constituents. How much will this cost our taxpayers? How will this impact the integrity of the election process if election officials must rush to implement changes to meet unrealistic deadlines,” Levinson questioned.

He further added, “Our budgets are in place and now we’re told we may have to bear the burden of these unforeseen, and, quite frankly, unnecessary changes and expenses.”

Giralo said there is an average of 100 or more different types of ballots in Atlantic County during a primary election. Atlantic County is required to print ballots in two languages, but other counties have to print in many more languages, such as Essex County where Newark is located, with ballots printed in up to 15 languages.  There are basically three commercial printers in New Jersey that handle all election ballot printing.

Levinson also noted that Atlantic County recently paid more than $3.4 million for 325 new election machines in addition to purchasing electronic poll books that were first used last June. It is unclear what impact these changes could have on current voting machines.

“Atlantic County election officials, along with voters, adapted to new machines last year in addition to new voting procedures with early voting and mail-in-ballots,” said Giralo. “Now we could be asked to make changes to our ballots with little time or money to do so. This could prove to be extremely problematic, especially in a Presidential election year.”


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