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

Murphy: Decision on coming elections likely to come this week

April, May elections a COVID risk

By Nikita Biryukov, March 16 2020 4:29 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy will likely decide what to do about elections scheduled over the next three months later this week.

“No updates since David asked me yesterday,” Murphy said. “I would expect (Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver) and I will get recommendations within the next day or two.”

Atlantic City is set to hold a change-of-government referendum on March 31. After that come non-partisan schoolboard races, with non-partisan municipal elections following in May and partisan primaries on June 2.

Earlier Monday, the New Jersey Globe reported that Murphy’s administration was considering conducting the April and May races entirely through mail-in ballots, with no in-person voting.

Murphy said it was too early to say whether he would encourage people to vote in person, though he minimized the risk of doing so during a COVID-19 briefing Monday.

“I can’t remember the last time, I’ll speak for myself and Tammy and our local voting elementary school, when there were remotely 50 people in that room at the same time. I don’t think that’s ever been the case,” Murphy said. “If we think that’s a chance, we would probably put in place something to monitor that. But it’s too early to tell.”

Over the weekend, New Jersey mandated a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people, and non-essential businesses are being ordered to close by 8 p.m., with movie theaters, casinos and racing tracks being ordered to close for the foreseeable future.

The state’s schools are set to close for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, though they’ll remain shuttered until health officials deem it’s safe for them to reopen.

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