Bernie Sanders’ New Jersey campaign wants Gov. Phil Murphy to raise the limit on authorized messenger ballots from three to ten for the July 7 primary election, which will be conducted almost entirely through vote-by-mail ballots.
“We are supposed to be encouraging voter participation and this will do so. There is nothing inherently different between the first and third ballot and the fourth through tenth,” said Lawrence Hamm, Patricia Campos Medina and Barry Brendel, the chairs of New Jersey for Bernie 2020. “Ten is not an excessive amount.”
New Jersey changed its law in 2015, reducing the number of ballots a single messenger can obtain from a county clerks office to three and limited bearers – those who can deliver ballots on behalf of a voter – to three. There had previously been no limits on bearers.
The change was necessitated after allegations of excessive messengers and bearers was leading to voter fraud.
The Sanders campaign praised Murphy’s decision to hold a VBM primary, and for having the state pick up the costs of return ballots.
“We also understand the Governor recommends one polling place per town. We agree this is a reasonable accommodation under the current circumstances,” Hamm, Campos Medina and Brendel said. “In larger cities, a few more voting places might be appropriate. Such decisions should be made in consultation with local officials and voting rights advocates.”
Sanders remains on the ballot for the New Jersey primary, even though he suspended his campaign on April 8 and endorsed the presumptive nominee, Joe Biden. Delegate candidates allied with Sanders also remain on the ballot and are seeking to maximize their numbers to impact the party platform.
Hamm is challenging incumbent Cory Booker in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.