TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Gov. Phil Murphy has announced that most of New Jersey’s voting in November will be done through mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a CNN interview Friday morning, Murphy said all 6.2 million registered voters in the state would be sent ballots in the mail for the Nov. 3 election.
"We delayed our primary to July 7 and we pursued a hybrid model. We mailed ballots to folks who are registered in either party, we mailed applications to those who weren't, and we also provided in person voting capacity, at least 50% in each county in at least one location in each municipality. It was a success, not perfect, but overwhelmingly a success. So we're going to announce, not to break too much news here later today, that we're going to extend that model into the general election in November," Murphy said.
Murphy stresses the move isn't about politics. The goal is to make the election a minimal public health hazard during the pandemic and precent voter disenfranchisement.
"REsults here and across our nation show that making it easier to vote does not favor any one political party, but it does favor democracy. No voter should fear for the sanctity of their ballot," Murphy said.
He drew on results from the state's primary saying, "Here in New Jersey, we saw increased participation. The second highest state primary turnout in history." About 87% of the votes cast in this year's primary were by mail.
A select number of polling places will be open for people who want to cast their ballot in-person. Murphy said those going in-person will be required to cast a provisional vote because poll workers won't be able to know if that voter had already mailed in a ballot.
Also, anyone who is worried about their vite getting lost in the mail can deliver it themselves to a secure dropbox at a polling site.
Mail-in voting faces fresh challenges after President Donald Trump opposed additional funding to help the U.S. Postal Service deal with the influx in ballots. The president claims mail-in ballots could lead to widespread voter fraud. He pointed in a tweet to four people in Paterson, including a council member, who were charged with fraud after New Jersey's primary.
Murphy said that case sends a positive message.
"If you screw around with voting, whether it's vote by mail or another way, you're going to be caught and held accountable," the governor said.
All residents should receive their ballot by Oct. 5.
County clerks will accept ballots sent by Nov. 10.