Constitutional officers this week reached out to Governor Phil Murphy, urging him to issue an executive order by close of business day today concerning the scheduled June 2nd primary elecctions. To date, Murphy has not announced his decision regarding how to handle the elections in this intensified period of COVID-19 crisis.
In the name of having time to thoughtfully deliberate and plan while “simultaneously upholding standards to protect the integrity of the election at hand. It is our collective goal to work effectively and efficiently with the Secretary of State, the Division of Elections and public health officials, to ensure that New Jersey voters safely and securely cast their ballots in the 2020 Primary Election in the manner deemed most appropriate and safe for all.
“For these reasons and those contained herein, we respectfully ask for a decision no later than April 3, 2020 so that we can move forward with unity and purpose,” write Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi, Somerset County Clerk Steve Peter, Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections Maureen Bugdon, and Shona Mack-Pollock, Hunterdon County Clerk Passaic County Superintendent of Elections.
So far, no word in response from Murphy or his staff.
From their April 1st letter cc’d to Tahesha Way, Secretary of State; Robert Giles, Director, New Jersey Division of Elections; George Helmy, Chief of Staff; and Matt Platkin, Chief Counsel:
“Declaring the June 2nd Primary Election an All Vote-By-Mail election is certainly an option worthy of discussion. While still two months out from the June Primary, cutoff dates to order tabulating equipment in lieu of supply quantities, as well as the ability to print several million ballots statewide remain of great concern. Legal notices for the election are due to be sent to the papers for publication within the next week. Additionally, procedures to process any mass influx of ballots must, at all times, take into account the health and safety of the election workforce. This includes designating or securing facilities that permit the handling of these ballots at safe 6-foot perimeters by gloved & masked, bipartisan processing teams. Further, ADA compliance must also be paramount, representing yet another integral piece of planning that well demands our consideration and implementation. This option requires immediate attention and action to enable all parties involved to be prepared to conduct an election that will allow the voters of the great State of New Jersey to have confidence in their Election Officials, whether they are representing the State, County or Local level.
“Lastly, we offer the postponement of the June 2nd Primary for your consideration. As Executive Order #105 moved March and April elections to May 12th, similarly, New Jersey’s Primary might be repositioned later in the summer. COVID-19 numbers later in the summer are predicted to decline. This might open up options like numbers 1 and 2 above as more realistic. For the 10 counties hosting May 12th elections, a postponement would also broaden the gap in the sending and receiving of ballots concurrently for two elections otherwise separated by less than a month.”
The full letter can be read here:April 1, 2020 COANJ NJAEO Governor letter (1)