Weekly Roundup: Mail-in ballots in New Jersey were sent to ineligible voters living out of state

By Gabe Schneider

Votebeat is a pop-up nonprofit newsroom covering local election administration and voting in eight states, created by Chalkbeat. This is an election night round-up of stories our reporters have written across our network.




An unknown number of mail-in ballots in New Jersey ended up going to ineligible voters living out of state — even to dead people. Election officials blame shoddy work by the contractor hired to provide basic voter details, reports Jeff Pillets at NJ Spotlight News. 


Craig Calloway, “a vote messenger,” likely helped U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew sail to re-election victory in New Jersey’s 2nd District. Both parties have used his services, but the operation is likely unethical and possibly illegal.  




Tens of thousands of provisional ballots in the state still needed to be counted as of Thursday. Spotlight PA’s Tom Lisi explains the painstaking process of verifying provisional ballots—and where they all came from. 


Without any evidence of fraud, about two dozen Republicans in the Pennsylvania state legislature said they had doubts about the fairness of the election. Cynthia Fernandez and Marie Albiges report on the air-tight safeguards in place to make sure the election was fair. 




President Trump wants thousands of votes in Michigan to be dismissed, because GOP challengers say they didn’t get to monitor vote counting in the predominantly African-American city of Detroit. Madeline Halpert reports for Bridge Michigan. 


A Republican county clerk says she accidentally boosted Democrat Joe Biden’s unofficial vote total  by 153,710 votes when she was trying to report the 15,371 ballots cast for Biden. It was a momentary typo that didn’t affect  the election, and after correcting the mistake, Trump ended up winning the county. Still, the mistake has fueled unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud. 


There’s a baseless theory online that a ballot marked by a Sharpie can  be disqualified but that’s not true. In fact, Sharpies are allowed and work pretty well for filling out a ballot. 


At Bridge Detroit, Bisma Parvaz reports out a central question surrounding the harassment of poll workers at TCF Center: Was the effort to stop the count in Detroit a form of voter challenging or suppression?


Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. But a lot has to happen first before he can move into the White House in January: County and state results must be canvassed and certified, and a slate of electors must be delegated to the Electoral College. 


Supporters of President Trump have seized on a quickly fixed error in Antrim County, where Joe Biden was initially reported to have won (he actually lost the county), as unsubstantiated evidence of widespread voting irregularities. Here’s why none of it’s true. 




Turnout was down in Milwaukee this year, but Black activists still see signs of hope, after Black voters faced a pandemic and a number of barriers to vote Anya van Wagtendonk reports for WisconsinWatch. 




 Republicans are entrenched in the Texas state legislature. That means they’ll decide redistricting in Texas and likely hold onto power — at least until redistricting happens again in 2031. Karen Brooks Harper reports for the Texas Tribune.  




Debunked theories about Sharpies not working on ballots aren’t just a problem in Michigan — in California, some voters feared the same. But public officials have a quick PSA for voters: “Sharpies are one of the best tools,” said Brooke Federico, public information officer for Riverside County. Steven Rascón reports for CalMatters.


The number of provisional ballots cast in California dropped by about 650,000 in four years. How? Officials in California credit a new voting center, reports Lewis Griswold. 


A proposal to give younger people a greater voice in elections was resoundingly rejected by about 55% of California voters. The statewide measure won approval in only six of California’s 58 counties — Los Angeles, Mendocino and a cluster of Bay Area counties — reports Elena Neale-sacks. 




An estimated 23,000 teenagers in Georgia who were too young to vote in the general election will turn 18 in time to participate in the runoff races for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats. Just a few thousand votes could decide control of the U.S. Senate. Christopher Alston reports for WABE. 


Absentee voting was used on a large scale for the first time since the Civil War. But the absentee voting policies that benefited Democrats this time around were actually created by Republicans. 




A North Carolina man voted twice, when he wasn’t trying to, and the system caught it. Here’s how the county election administration did — and didn’t — work. Michael Falero reports for WFAE. 


Officials in North Carolina had received 22,000 absentee mail-in ballots by early this week, but they say more than 94,000 ballots were outstanding, reports Coleen Harry. 


In Mecklenburg County, Michael Falero reports on the process of approving more than 2,000 absentee ballots. “You check these for accuracy, but you’ll want to check these for postmarks, too,” said Mecklenburg Board of Elections director Michael Dickerson. “And we did that on all of these, but if you all want to go through those, I know you all like doing that.”