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

Murphy pleased by early VBM returns

Mail-in ballot totals up 99.7% over 2015 total so far, with Dems leading in most competitive races

By Nikita Biryukov, November 03 2019 6:52 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy likes what the state’s new vote-by-mail law has done so far.

“I’m happy based on what I’m hearing in terms of the early returns for Democrats, certainly, as a Democrat,” Murphy said. “I think it’s working based on what I hear or what I don’t hear. I think it’s working well.”

Mail-in ballot returns appear to favor Democrats in most of the state’s competitive district.

According to VBM totals accurate through the close of business Friday, Democrats in the 21st have a 14-point lead, based on party registration.

In the 25th, Democrats lead by close to seven points. They lead by about three points in the eighth and 39th districts, while returns are almost evenly split between the two major parties in the first district.

Perhaps more important, civically, is the staggering jump in vote by mail turnout. By Friday, 227,870 mail-in ballots had been cast.

That’s just over 40% of the 568,959 VBM ballots issued by county clerks this year and a 99.7% increase over the amount returned in 2015, the last year Assembly seats were at the top of the ballots.

Expect the number to rise even further, as clerks will be counting mail-in ballots until Nov. 7, as long as they’re post marked by election day.

Statewide turnout was just 22% in 2015.

The state’s new VBM law requires clerks to send in mail-in ballots to voters who requested them in 2016 and after in perpetuity.

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