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NJ will vote mostly by mail for 2020 election despite lingering post office concerns

Rob Tornoe, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

New Jersey's election in November will be mostly mail-in due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday on CNN.

The state will follow the same approach it followed during its delayed primary July 7, Murphy said. Every registered voter in the state will be mailed a ballot, which they can either mail back or drop off in secure drop boxes across the state. A limited number of polling places will also be open to voters on Election Day.

Murphy said there were small problems that occurred during a local May election in Patterson, where four men -- including a city councilman -- have been charged with fraud. According to The Washington Post, 19% of ballots cast in that race were disqualified. But overall, Murphy said, the hybrid approach with an emphasis on mail-in ballots was successful during the state's primary election in July.

"Overwhelmingly, this was successful," Murphy said. "You never can say you bat a thousand, but I'm pretty sure that we have a higher probability of being struck by lightning than we do uncovering voter fraud."

New Jersey's move comes after the U.S. Postal Service warned that mail ballots in many states might not be delivered on time due to state deadlines.

Murphy said the state saw evidence of mail slowdowns beginning in March, with many postal workers sidelined when the pandemic was at its peak in the state. But he said his administration expects the Postal Service to handle the increase in mail-in ballots.

"We'll stay on them hard, as we have been," Murphy said. "And it's in everyone's interest that it function as well as possible."

 

President Donald Trump, who has repeated false attacks on mail voting, acknowledged Thursday that he is opposed to giving the Postal Service funding to help with the delivery of ballots because he thinks it will hurt his reelection changes.

Despite those attacks, both the president and first lady Melania Trump have requested mail-in ballots for Florida's primary election next week, according to CNN.

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