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

Murphy says he’ll recuse from election matters directly affecting him

That doesn’t include proposals like early voting, electronic poll books

By Nikita Biryukov, December 11 2020 3:49 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said he will recuse from election matters that could directly benefit him as next year’s gubernatorial election nears, but that doesn’t mean he’ll step away from early voting.

“If there’s anything that I think runs toward my benefit personally, I view that as a third rail, as opposed to something that I think is the right general thing,” he said Friday. “So, I’m not going to recuse myself from a discussion on early voting, because I think that’s just a good hygiene. That’s something we should have long ago had in our state.”

Republicans in the state have criticized Murphy for the changes he made to this year’s elections in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Those included primary and general elections held mainly through the mail, with in-person machine voting allowed only for individuals with disabilities.

The governor said he wouldn’t step aside from proposals to purchase electronic poll books that would enable the state to hold in-person early voting and allow residents who received but did not return a mail-in ballot to cast a machine vote on election day.

“Things that I think are for the good of the order, as it were, I will not recuse myself just because I’m on the ballot,” Murphy said. “If it’s directly impacting me, I won’t go near that.”

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