Section: General rules of construction
19:52-1. The district boards of each election district shall meet at the polling place three-quarters of an hour before the time set for opening of the polls at each election and shall proceed to arrange the furniture, stationery and voting machine or machines for the conduct of the election. The district boards shall then and there have the voting machine, ballots and stationery required to be delivered to them for such election by the officials charged by law with that duty.
The keys to the voting machine shall be delivered to the district election officers in any manner that the county board of elections or the superintendent of elections or the municipal clerk, as the case may be, having custody of voting machines, may determine, at least three-quarters of an hour before the time set for opening the polls, in a sealed envelope, on which shall be written or printed the number and location of the voting machine, the number of the seal with which it is sealed, the number of the green seal with which the emergency ballot box is sealed, and the number registered on the protective counter or device, as reported by the custodian.
The envelope containing the keys shall not be opened until at least two members of the board who are not members of the same political party shall be present at the polling place and shall have examined the envelope to see that it has not been opened. Before opening the envelope all election officers present shall examine the number on the seal on the machine and the number registered on the protective counter, and shall ascertain if they are the same as the numbers written on the envelope; and if they are not the same, the machine must not be opened until such county board of elections or such superintendent of elections or such municipal clerk, as the case may be, after due notice of such discrepancy, shall have caused such machine to be re-examined and properly arranged by any person or persons employed or appointed pursuant to R.S.19:48-6. If the numbers on the voting machine seal and the protective counter are found to agree with the numbers on the envelope, the district election officers shall proceed to open the doors concealing the counters, and each district election officer shall carefully examine every counter and ascertain whether or not it registers zero (000), and the same shall be subject to the inspection of official watchers.
In addition, each district election officer shall carefully examine the emergency ballot box to ascertain whether or not it is properly sealed with a numbered green seal and examine the number to ascertain if it is the same as the number written on the voting machine key envelope. If the numbers are not the same, the county board of elections, the superintendent of elections, or the municipal clerk, as the case may be, shall be notified of the discrepancy.
The machine shall remain locked against voting until the polls are formally opened and shall not be operated except by voters in voting. If any counter is found not to register zero (000) the district board shall immediately notify such county board of elections or such superintendent of elections or such municipal clerk, as the case may be, who shall, if practicable, cause such counter to be adjusted at zero (000) by any person or persons employed or appointed pursuant to R.S.19:48-6. If it shall be impracticable for such person or persons to arrive in time to so adjust such counter before the time set for opening the polls, the district election officers shall immediately make a written statement of the designating letter and number of such counter, together with the number registered thereon, and shall sign and post same upon the wall of the polling room, where it shall remain throughout election day, and in filling out the statement of canvass, they shall subtract such number from the number registered thereon at the close of the polls
. Each district election officer shall carefully examine the provisional ballot bag to ascertain that it is properly sealed with a numbered security seal and whether it has been subjected to tampering. If the elections officer discovers evidence of tampering, the county board of elections, the superintendent of elections, or the municipal clerk, as the case may be, shall be so notified immediately.
Amended 1945, c.56, s.9; 1992, c.3, s.8; 1996, c.120, s.7; 1999,c.232,s.6.
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