New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the state’s July primary election will take place mostly through vote-by-mail ballots.
Murphy had already moved the election from June 2nd to July 7th as the state grappled with the COVID-19 outbreak. On Friday, he said in-person voting will be limited.
“Our goals are twofold: To maximize our democracy while minimizing risk of illness,” he said. “We want everyone to participate in a safe and fully democratic process.”
Every registered Democrat and Republican will receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Unaffiliated or inactive voters will instead receive an application for a mail-in ballot. Every municipality will have to open at least one polling place to allow people to come in and vote—so long as they maintain social distancing rules.
“We know there are other voters who prefer to cast their ballot in person in addition to voters with disabilities who cannot fill out a vote-by-mail ballot,” Murphy said.
He said polling stations will have to sanitize touch screens and voting machines between every voter.
New Jersey held its first entirely vote-by-mail election for a series of local races on Tuesday but it’s the first time the state’s mail-in voting system is so widely expanded. Across the river, New York is grappling with its primary: The New York State Board of Elections canceled its June primary, but then a federal judge ordered the primary back on; the NYS BOE is appealing the decision.
Murphy said sample ballots for the primary election will not be sent out.
Ballots must still be post dated no later than the day of the election but will be accepted up to seven day after polls close.
Counties will also have to provide additional secure drop off boxes for the ballots, in addition to U.S. postal services.
Voters in New Jersey will select their party candidates for president, U.S. Senate for Sen. Cory Booker’s seat, and all 12 Congressional seats.
New Jersey has reported more than 141,000 thousand cases of COVID-19 and more than 10,000 people have died.