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

Murphy executive order doesn’t apply to recall elections

Electronic signatures required for ballot initiatives and referendums only

By David Wildstein, May 03 2020 8:57 pm

The coronavirus appears to be shielding incumbents from grassroots efforts that could recall them from office this year.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order requiring only electronic signatures on ballot initiative and referendum petitions does not include recall elections, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

That means any effort to recall an elected official this year would be hampered by an inability to collect in-person signatures on a petition.

Some Trenton officials are discussing a bid to recall Robin Vaughn from her West Ward city council seat after an extending homophobic rant.

To force a recall election, organizers would need to collect 3,401 signatures – 25% of the total voters in Vaughn’s ward.

“Now is not the time for anyone to be going door-to-door to campaign or collect signatures for any purpose,” Murphy said last week.

In some cases, Murphy’s mixed signals on recall elections could offer a lifeboat to a bunch of elected officials elected to four-year terms in 2017 or three-year terms in 2018.  New Jersey law does not permit recalls during the first or last year of a term.

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