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

Murphy gives hybrid primary high early marks

Governor says longer runway needed for in-person voting

By Nikita Biryukov, July 10 2020 2:34 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy thinks Tuesday’s primaries went well, though he said he wouldn’t be fully certain until counts are completed.

“I still don’t have the complete answer,” he said. “As you know, we extended the period to seven days from the postmark date. It had to be postmarked as of election day, but you’ve got seven days to be included, so I don’t think we’ll be giving a full accounting of this for a little bit, but the process feels like it worked.”

The state held a hybrid primary this year that involved every registered Democrat and Republican in the state receive a postage-prepaid mail-in ballot, while every unaffiliated voter got a vote-by-mail application they could send in free of charge.

Voters who did not wish to cast their ballots through the mail had the option of voting provisionally at a reduced number of in-person polling places. The governor said election officials in some counties would have benefited from having more time to prepare.

“It’s pretty clear that the counties are going to need a longer runway,” he said. “Not in every case, but in some of the counties. We want to make sure that we’re adhering to that at least 50% capacity by county and at least one location per municipality.”

Murphy chief counsel Matt Platkin said the administration is in talks with the U.S. Postal Service over issues raised in the run-up to the election.

“We’re also waiting for some results of investigations from the postal service on issues that we flagged during the lead up to the election, and they owe us those answers as to how they can improve going into November as well,” Platkin said.

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