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A secure ballot drop box in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

24% of mail-in ballots returned in New Jersey so far

Republican VBMs in closely-watched races outpacing statewide average

By David Wildstein, May 24 2023 3:39 pm

Less than two weeks before the June 6 primary election, New Jersey voters have returned 24% of all vote-by-mail ballots mailed by county election officials, according to an analysis by Ryan Dubicki, an election researcher for the Associated Press.

So far, 175,122 votes have already been cast; 134,276 from Democrats and 40,596 from Republicans.  The return rates from the two parties is roughly the same: 25% from Democrats and 23% from Republicans.

Election official have mailed out 536,117 ballots for the primary, including 536,117 to Democrats, 117,01 to Republicans, and 19,927 to unaffiliated voters that requested them.  The total pool of 729,104 mailed ballots statewide represents roughly 21% of registered Democrats and about 8% of registered Republicans.

In the 3rd district, where State Sen. Edward Durr (R-Logan) faces a primary challenge from Assemblywoman Beth Sawyer (R-Woolwich), 1,670 Republican ballots have been returned, a return rate of 34%.

The hotly-contested GOP Senate primary in the 4th district between Gloucester County Commissioner Nick DeSilvio and former Washington Township Councilman Christopher DelBorrello – and contests for State Assembly and county offices in Gloucester, has brought in 2,299 mail-in ballots, 33% of those sent out.

The race for two open State Assembly seat in the 24th district in Sussex, Morris and Warren counties, Republicans have returned 1,671 votes, 28% of those that were mailed out by election officials.   In that race, Lafayette Board of Education President Josh Aikens, Sussex County Commissioner Dawn Fantasia (R-Franklin), Chester Mayor Mike Inganamort, attorney Rob Kovic, and Warren County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski (R-Independence) are facing off for the two seat.

Republicans have returned 1,655 VBM ballots – 27% of those mailed — in the 26th district, where State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Montville) faces a primary challenge from Morris County Commissioner Tom Mastrangelo (R-Montville).  Two incumbent assemblymen, Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) and Brian Bergen (R-Denville) face former Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Parsippany) and former Parsippany Councilman Robert Peluso.

In the 27th district, where legislative reapportionment put two veteran Democratic senators, Richard Codey (D-Roseland) and Nia Gill (D-Montclair) in the same districts, 3,691 Democrats (21%) have returned their mail in ballots.

In the next-door 28th district, 1,980 Democrats (17%) have sent back their vote-by-mail ballots.  Three candidates are competing for two Assembly seats: incumbent Cleopatra Tucker (D-Newark), former Maplewood Mayor Frank McGehee, and Deputy Essex County Clerk Garnet Hall.

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