TRENTON – In an effort to ensure that voting areas will be safe, the primary election was moved from June 2 to July 7.
“Preserving basic functions of our democracy is critical in this unprecedented time,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Citizens exercising their right to vote should not have to risk their safety and the safety of others in order to make their voices heard. Postponing our primary elections is a difficult, yet necessary, choice to ensure that our citizens can partake in their civic duty of voting.”
The move was done through Executive Order 120, one of many Orders that the governor has signed to implement social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
All primary elections are impacted, including the presidential vote. It follows criticism of an April 7 election in Wisconsin. Multiple problems were caused by the pandemic, according to reports, including closing 175 voting locations in Milwaukee, leaving only five open for a city of about 600,000. To put it into perspective, it would be like having only five polling locations for all of Ocean County.
“Governor Murphy’s decision to move New Jersey’s primary election to July 7, 2020 will provide our state, county, and local election officials with the time we need to prepare for a free, fair, and safe election for New Jersey voters,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
Additionally, the deadline for change of party affiliation forms was moved from April 8 to May 13.
A press release from Murphy’s office noted that election rules have been changed before, such as by Governor Kean in 1982 during a severe winter storm and by the Christie Administration in 2012 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.