Murphy Reveals Details of Hybrid July 7th Primary Elections: In-Person Provisionals and VBMs

As lawmakers consider the NJ 2020 budget, Democratic caucus members mostly seemed resigned to voting for a budget that will not contain Governor Phil Murphy’s desired millionaire’s tax. Senator Nick Sacco says the current in-fighting among Democrats is not healthy.

The latest news from the Insider iLine concerning the current election cycle in New Jersey.

Updated at 1:15 p.m.

Coming off a flawed vote-by-mail (VBM) election in Paterson and , Governor Phil Murphy will opt for in-person provisional voting for July 7th primary elections, as a substitute for machine voting to supplement vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots.

He clarified at his press conference that his order will require at least one sanitized polling location in each muncipality, with enforced social distancing protocols, and touch-screen machines available for those voters who want to vote in-person.

In other words, a hybrid.

The state will also examine consolidating polling locations.

“I’m hearing ballots to all R and D, applications to unaffiliateds. Drop-off centers, but no polling places per se. The devil will be in the details,” a source told InsiderNJ this morning.

In the aftermath of the all-VBM May 12th elections, Murphy and his allies were concerned about some of the issues in towns, such as more than 800 impounded ballots in Paterson, and postal woes in Belleville.

Those issues factored into the state’s strategy for the July 7th elections, another source noted – but did not kill a primarily VBM-reliant model. “Seriously, probably safety,” a source said, when asked why he is leery about machines – and steering the election away from machine voting amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which caused the governor to reschedule the June primary, and order rescheduled school board elections and an all-VBM May 12th election.

PoliticoNJ’s Matt Friedman this morning reported that the governor would make an announcement this afternoon at his regularly scheduled daily COVID-19 briefing at the War Memorial.

So he did.

“Our goal,” Murphy said, “is to maximize our democracy while minimizing the risk of illness.”

The governor at his press briefing acknowledged trouble in the last election.

“We’re still doing a post mortem,” Murphy said. “There’s no plans to extend anything on the May 12th election. …If you’re registerd as a Democrat, you get a mail in balllot, if you’re registered Republican, you get a sampe ballot. [no sample ballots for unaffilated across the board].

“We don’t have any other choice but to have vote by mail be a big part of this,” he added. “I don’t have any specific insights about what happened in Paterson.”

The governor made his elections procedural announcement on the same day he reported an additional 1,297 COVID-19 cases, for a statewide total of 143,905.

In 24 hours, the state processed another 201 COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the statewide total to 10,138.

Roughly half the deaths in this state (5,259) were in longterm care facilities.

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