NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy announced on May 19 a vast expansion of mail-in voting for the July primary but he stopped short of making it an exclusively vote-by-mail election.
Murphy announced the plan during his daily press conference. The plan calls for county clerks to automatically send mail-in ballots to the state’s 2.3 million Democrats and 1.3 million Republicans. The state’s 2.4 million unaffiliated voters would be sent applications for vote-by-mail ballots.
New Jersey moved its June primary elections – which include races for president, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House – to July 7 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In-person polling places will be available for people, but those ballots will be provisional. Counties will be asked to limit the number of in-person polling places and ensure those open can accommodate social distancing.
“No one should have to choose between their health and exercising their right to vote. By providing vote-by-mail ballots and applications, New Jersey voters will be able to safely participate in our democracy as the pandemic continues to threaten our public health,” Murphy said.
Last week, the governor signed an executive order automatically sending every registered voter a pre-paid mail-in ballot or application for the state’s primary. This measure ensures all state voters will have the opportunity to cast their vote without risking their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order to make the elections mostly be vote-by-mail, though each county will have a limited number of in-person polling places.
The governor’s order also maintains that at least one in-person polling station will be open in every municipality for those who need it, and that at least half of the polling locations in each county shall be open provided that sufficient poll workers are available.