Home>Governor>Murphy appears at odds with Grewal’s ‘naked ballot’ cure stance

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

Murphy appears at odds with Grewal’s ‘naked ballot’ cure stance

Attorney general argued against remediation for mail-in ballots sent without inner envelopes

By Nikita Biryukov, November 09 2020 3:36 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy appeared to disagree with state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s office arguing against cures for “naked ballots” that a Hunterdon County Superior Court Judge allowed last week.

“One guy’s opinion — I’m not trying to be argumentative, certainly, with the attorney general, who’s doing a great job — I think if it’s a legitimate mistake and there’s a legitimate cure, I lean on counting it,” Murphy said.

Judge Michael O’Neill agreed, ruling against Grewal and allowing five voters who returned their mail-in ballots without the inner envelope to remediate their ballots last Monday.

State law requires mail-in ballots be placed into an inner envelope bearing the voter’s signature. The signature is used to confirm the voter as the sender of the ballot, and ballots are rejected without a cure letter if the inner envelope is missing.

Hunterdon County Board of Elections administrator Beth Thompson told O’Neill she disagreed with the attorney general’s office, which represented her office.

Though state election law requires inner ballots be used correctly, New Jersey judges typically take to a loose reading of Title 19, often ruling in favor of ballot access regardless of the letter of the law.

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