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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Decision on July primary could come sometime this week

Murphy administration closely watching Tuesday’s all-VBM races

By Nikita Biryukov, May 11 2020 2:45 pm

A decision on whether July’s primary elections will be held entirely using mail-in ballots could come sometime later this week, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

“I think we want to see what tomorrow looks like,” the governor said, referring to a slew of local non-partisan races being held Tuesday. “Does that mean this week or not? I don’t know, but I do know that the clock is running and it’s going to need to be sooner than later. So, let’s see how tomorrow goes.”

Nineteen New Jersey towns and cities will hold elections on Tuesday.

Those races, along with 14 school board races and a change-of-government referendum scheduled for the same day, are the first in the state’s history to be held entirely through the post.

“We want to see how tomorrow goes,” Murphy said. “We’ve got a pretty good experiment before us. Clearly, it’s not statewide, and it’s got different dimensions — these are local races — but every race is important.”

In late April, the New Jersey Globe reported the administration was considering holding a sort of hybrid primary that would see voters registered with either of the two major political parties automatically receive mail-in ballots.

Under that plan, a reduced number of in-person polling places would remain open to allow unaffiliated voters an opportunity to cast primary ballots.

Republicans and Democrats could also vote in person, though they would have to do so using provisional ballots.

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