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View of an official election ballot drop off box on the street in during the 2020 election, Princeton in on October 2020. (Photo: EQRoy/Shutterstock)

Total VBMs returned so far outnumbers all mail-in ballots from 2021

227,847 mail-in ballots recorded as returned so far, Rebovich Institute says

By David Wildstein, June 02 2022 8:49 pm

Just 3.5% of New Jersey voters have cast ballots for next week’s primary election, according to an analysis by the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.

But the total number of vote-by-mail ballots that have already recorded as received by election officials – 227,847 – represents a 4.4% increase over the total number of vote-by-mail  ballots cast in the 2021 primary and a 387% increase over all VBMs cast in the primary in 2018.  Indeed, the votes cast so far is 30% of all votes cast in last year’s primary, including machine votes.

Democrats are outpacing Republicans are outpacing Republicans by a more than 3-1 margin on returned mail-in ballots, with 72% of all VBMS coming from Democrats.  An additional 21% are from Republicans and 7% from voters that had previously been unaffiliated with any political party.

Just 5,372 Republican mail-in ballots have been returned in the 3rd district, where Bob Healey, Ian Smith and Nicholas Ferrara are facing off for the chance to take on Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in the general election.  That represents a mere 3.5% of the total number of registered Republicans in the district.  On the Democratic side, 18,928 VBMs have been returned in a race where Kim faces a nominal primary challenge from Reuven Hendler.

In the 5th district, where Nicholas De Gregorio, Frank Pallotta and Seb Skenderi want the chance to challenge Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), only 3,328 Republicans have returned their ballots – 2.25%.

Gottheimer has no primary challenger and there are no contested countywide primaries in Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties, but 10,524 Democrats in NJ-5 have already voted.

Vote-by-mail turnout in the 7th district is 6,871 Republicans – 3.4% of the total number of GOP voters in a race where seven Republicans are vying for the chance to challenge Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) in the fall.  Malinowski has a token opponent, perennial candidate Roger Bacon, and 15,420 Democrats have returned their ballots.

The most Republican primary VBMs have been cast in  the 4th district, where 21-term Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Manchester) faces a challenge for renomination.  A total of 7,087 GOP ballots have been returned, representing 3.5% of the registered Republicans in the district.   Smith faces podcaster Mike Crispi, former FBI agent Steve Gray, and U.S. Army veteran Michael Blasi.   Blasi dropped out of the race last month, but his name remains on the ballot.

Early voting begins on Friday.  Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by 8 PM on Tuesday, June 7 to be counted, as long as they arrive at the county Board of Elections by close of business on June 13.

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