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

In-person New Jersey primary likely to be July 7, sources say

Extension still gives Murphy time to move to all-VBM primary if circumstances require it

By David Wildstein, April 07 2020 11:44 am

Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce today or tomorrow that he will move the New Jersey primary election to July 7, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Voting will be in-person at polling locations, although the four-week extension would still give Murphy time to shift the election to entirely vote-by-mail if he decides safety or other obstacles would merit another switch.

The decision is not final, the Globe was told, and some details could still change.

Murphy, sources say, was leaning toward an all-VBM primary but faced significant opposition from several North Jersey Democratic county chairs – several of whom are allies of the governor — who were uncomfortable with the uncertainties of vote-by-mail elections  as they face some local primaries.

There were complaints from Republicans that Murphy was essentially offering “insider information” to Democratic county chairs on a conference call last Friday.  One Republican leader, who asked that his name be withheld, said that the governor was giving his own party an unfair advantage by briefing insiders of his own party on when the election would be held.

Sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Globe that the Democratic National Committee has agreed to seat New Jersey’s delegates to the convention even though the state will have passed their deadline.

The Republican National Committee has not yet approved a similar rule change, a source told the Globe, although with President Donald Trump unopposed for renomination, it’s unlikely that they would exclude the New Jersey delegation.

While few expect that the Democratic presidential race between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will continue into July, it is possible that no candidate will have a majority of the delegates before New Jersey votes.

This would not be the first time New Jersey changed the primary date to accommodate changes in circumstance.

The 2001 primary election was moved to June 25 after the Census Bureau waited until March 8 to deliver data to New Jersey.

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