Gov. Phil Murphy said he was unaware of complaints that the U.S. Postal Service was not delivering mail-in ballots a little more than two weeks ahead of the first election in the state’s history to be conducted entirely through vote-by-mail ballots.
“I actually didn’t see that story,” Murphy said. “That’s obviously not what we want.”
On Saturday, the New Jersey Globe reported that vote by mail ballots at least two apartment buildings in Belleville were left on bins or shelves and not placed into voters’ mailboxes.
Murphy does bear the burden of the all-VBM election, which is being conducted in 32 municipalities across 10 counties in accordance with an executive order the governor signed.
About 730,000 New Jerseyans are eligible to vote in the May 12 elections.
It’s not clear how many of the 24,261 Belleville voters who are supposed to receive mail-in ballots have been affected by the non-deliveries. According to Census figures compiled in 2010, 49% of the town’s residents live in rental housing, though not all of them live in apartment buildings.
Murphy declined to say whether he was concerned that ballots for some apartment building tenants were being treated differently than ballots for residents who live in single-family homes.
“Given the gravity of what we’re talking about, I don’t have crisp answers for you,” he said.
He also declined to say whether he was concerned about the race being compromised by undelivered ballots and would not say whether he had any plans to address the issue with USPS.
Similarly, the governor declined to say whether entire shipments of mail-in ballots being left unprotected in public places raised voter fraud concerns.