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The headquarters of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission in Trenton. (Photo: ELEC.)

Murphy declines to say when he might fill ELEC vacancy

By Nikita Biryukov, April 26 2021 3:36 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy declined to say when he might fill a vacant Republican seat on the New Jersey Law Enforcement Commission that has been vacant for nearly four years Monday.

“I have no insight at all on your first question,” he said during Monday’s virus briefing.

Democrats have a 2-1 majority on the four-seat panel, and while ELEC rarely makes decisions along party lines, the governor’s failure to fill the partisan vacancy could expose him to criticism.

It’s not clear the vacancy has impacted any of the commission’s decisions. The panel last week unanimously denied a late application for public financing filed by GOP gubernatorial candidate Phil Rizzo.

The application’s approval would likely have benefitted Murphy, as public dollars would have allowed Rizzo, a Hudson County pastor who can appeal the decision in court, to pose a more serious primary threat to former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican gubernatorial frontrunner.

The vacancy also isn’t anything new. While individual members have changed, ELEC hasn’t had a full slate of commissioners for nearly a decade.

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