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Action Together New Jersey volunteers prepare a mailing of VBM applications in 2019. (Photo: Action Together New Jersey).

28% of all vote-by-mail ballots returned for N.J. primary election

New Jersey appears to be warming toward VBMs

By David Wildstein, June 06 2022 1:35 pm

Vote-by-mail ballots are already up 13% over the 2021 primary in New Jersey, with 246,622 mail-in ballots already cast, according to an analysis conducted by the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University.

A total of 875,554 vote-by-mail ballots were mailed out by election officials for the primary.  That brings the total returned ballots so far to 28% statewide.

Both parties are returning mail-in ballots at roughly the same pace: 36% of Democrats and 33% of Republicans.

Of the VBMs already cast, 177,288 are from Democrats and 51,598 from Republicans.  A potential wildcard in competitive primaries are the unaffiliated voters.  Election officials mailed out Democratic and Republican ballots to 222,444 voters unaffiliated and 17,622 of them returned their ballots.  The partisan divide of those voters won’t be clear until they are tallied on Election Day.

After three days of early voting that began on Friday, 20,230 New Jerseyans cast in-person ballots.

Camden County continues to dominate early voting in New Jersey.  The 38,476 vote-by-mail ballots cast in the 1st congressional district accounts for 21.7% of all Democratic VBMs statewide.

In the 3rd district Republican primary, where three candidates are seeking a shot to take on Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), a total of 5,588 VBMs have been returned – 34% of those mailed by election officials.

Republicans have returned 3,625 mail-in ballots in the 5th district – 30% those sent – in a race to pick an opponent for Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff).   The contest between Marine combat veteran Nick De Gregorio and 2020 candidate Frank Pallotta is potentially the most competitive House primary in the state.

Seven Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination for Congress in the 7th district, where Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) wants a third term, and 37% of Republicans have already cast their mail-in ballots.

The highest number of GOP returned mail-in ballots are in the 4th district, 7,694 (39%), where Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Manchester) faces three primary opponents – one of them dropped out last month but his name remains on the ballot – in his bid for renomination to a 21st term.

In the 10th district, 30% of Democrats have returned their vote-by-mail ballots.  Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark) has two primary opponents.

Mail-in ballots postmarked by 8 PM on June 7 will be accepted as long as they are delivered to the county Board of Elections by close of business on Monday, June 13.

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