TRENTON – The Nov. 3 election will be done “overwhelmingly” by mail, Gov. Phil Murphy said in his Aug. 14 coronavirus press conference.
However, this is not to say it will be only by mail. Every municipality in New Jersey will be required to have at least one polling location open, he said. Each county should have half of the polling places available.
There will be more voting dropboxes available to the public this election season than in the primary, he said.
Schools will be closed that day.
Voting by mail will be the default. If you choose to vote in person, it will be with a provisional ballot. This means that a poll worker has to determine if you voted by mail as well, to make sure you didn’t vote twice.
You can drop off your ballot to a poll worker.
A system will be available on Sept. 4 allowing people to register to vote online, he said.
The primary election in July was a test to see how the state would do in November, Murphy said. It wound up with the second highest voter turnout in state history for primaries.
There will be no sample ballots. The ballots you receive in the mail are the ones to use, he said. They should all be sent to you by Oct. 5.
In order for your vote to count, it must be postmarked by Nov. 3, election day. It must be received no later than Nov. 10. If for some reason it did not get postmarked, it must be received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 5.
“Making it easier to vote doesn’t favor one particular party, but it does favor Democracy,” he said.
Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington had primarily vote-by-mail systems even before the pandemic.
He said there have been ongoing issues with the United States Postal Service which has been “turned into a political football by those who don’t favor political access.”
Local Republicans criticized the governor, a Democrat, on this move.
The Stafford Township Council passed a resolution encouraging in-person voting.
“The July 7th New Jersey Primary Election was rife with problems including exorbitant cost, potential fraud, mass confusion, and extreme delays,” the council said, without giving examples.
“Presidential elections bring out the highest number of voters and the considerable issues of the July primary will be exponentially greater this November without access to machine voting for all registered voters. Machine voting is safe, reliable, and far and away the most popular form of voting. Counting paper ballots by hand is both antiquated and insecure. The 2020 General election could have the highest voter turnout in history. The people deserve a fair election with accurate counting of all votes cast in a timely manner. The Presidency, a US Senate seat, all US House seats, County offices and numerous down-ballot offices are at stake. This is NOT the time for yet another electoral experiment,” the council stated.
“Governor Murphy is unilaterally threatening the integrity of this election,” said 2nd District Representative Jeff Van Drew. “He continues to decide which science he agrees with and ignores what he does not; just yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that in-person voting can be done safely.
“Mail-in voting should be a part of a strategy to ensure safety, but allowing for a singular process that is time-consuming, unreliable and creates the potential for fraud is completely unacceptable,” he said.