New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has announced that officials will send mail-in ballots to each of the state’s registered voters ahead of the November election.
Murphy made the announcement at a news briefing Friday, saying that he would be signing an executive order to allow all voters to cast their ballot by mail. The order means each of New Jersey’s estimated 6.2 million voters will receive a ballot in the mail, though they can vote in person instead if they so desire, according to NJ.com.
“As much as we enjoy the time-honored traditions of joining our neighbors in a line to cast our ballots on Election Day … and as much as we are energized by seeking packed polling places, we must recognize that this is not a regular election year,” Murphy said.
“We can say that in more ways than one, but it certainly matters in terms of how we go about ensuring a free and open election in the face of this ongoing pandemic,” he added.
Berman described criticism of mail-in voting and its potential for fraud, especially criticism from President Donald Trump, as “baseless.”
“Everybody gets a ballot,” Murphy told CNN. “We’re going to have a hybrid model in November.”
“We like what we saw [in July’s statewide primaries], we’ll tweak it and that’s where we’re headed, ” Murphy said.
Berman asked, “Everybody is going to be mailed a ballot?”
New Jersey will use a hybrid voting model for the November election, @GovMurphy confirms.
All New Jersey residents will be mailed a ballot for the elections, and it will be up to them to decide if they would like to vote by mail or in person, he added.https://t.co/FwfRKvtCVB pic.twitter.com/HuvQb9CTIF
— New Day (@NewDay) August 14, 2020
“That is correct, and if you do vote in-person, you’ll have to do what we call provisional voting because the folks won’t necessarily know at the voting location whether or not you actually already mailed a ballot in,” Murphy said.
Berman explained to CNN viewers that voter fraud is “very rare,” before bringing up alleged voter fraud issues in the city of Paterson, where there were major problems reported during a May special election.
Berman conceded that there were “failures,” including “a tiny bit of fraud,” but downplayed the effects of fraudulent ballots on elections.
“We have a higher probability of being hit by lightning than we do uncovering voter fraud,” Murphy said.
Trump commented on the issues in Paterson on Twitter in June:
“Absentee Ballots are fine. A person has to go through a process to get and use them. Mail-In Voting, on the other hand, will lead to the most corrupt Election is USA history. Bad things happen with Mail-Ins. Just look at Special Election in Patterson, N.J. 19% of Ballots a FRAUD!” he tweeted.
Absentee Ballots are fine. A person has to go through a process to get and use them. Mail-In Voting, on the other hand, will lead to the most corrupt Election is USA history. Bad things happen with Mail-Ins. Just look at Special Election in Patterson, N.J. 19% of Ballots a FRAUD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020
“State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal alleges that Councilman Michael Jackson and Councilman-elect Alex Mendez handled mail-in ballots improperly,” the outlet reported. “Jackson possessed too many mail-in ballots that were not his own and Mendez submitted voter registration applications he knew were false, Grewal claims. Two workers for a third campaign were also charged with election fraud.”
The newspaper also reported the state had seen seen “misdelivered ballots, ballots dropped in piles in apartment lobbies and ballots burned in a mail truck fire.”
One in 10 ballots in New Jersey’s vote-by-mail special elections in May were not counted, according to NJ Spotlight.
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