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

Murphy urges sick residents who haven’t received ballots to contact clerks

‘If you’re sick, don’t go out,’ Persichilli says

By Nikita Biryukov, July 06 2020 2:10 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy urged sick residents who have yet to receive their mail-in ballot to avoid casting a provisional vote in-person tomorrow and instead contact county clerks to see whether a separate solution could be found.

“If you’re sick and you’re awaiting a test … as much as I want you to vote, I’m not wild about your going out into a public place,” Murphy said Monday. “I think what you should do is, if that’s the case, get a hold of your county clerk literally the minute you’re hearing these words come out of my mouth and get their advice in your county as to what to do.”

Hopefully, Murphy said, voters could still get a mail-in ballot.

In a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Murphy in May announced Tuesday’s primaries will be held mostly using mail-in ballots.

Every registered Republican and Democrat in the state was sent a vote-by-mail ballot with postage prepaid, and every unaffiliated voter was sent a mail-in ballot application they could return free of charge.

But election officials have faced hurdles processing applications. Backlogs caused in part by the frequently-crashing Statewide Voter Registration System stretched up to five days when the primary was still roughly a week out, and it’s not clear how many voters have requested but not received their ballots.

Voters can still cast provisional ballots at a reduced number of polling places. Each town will have at least one open, and counties will operate at least half of their polling locations.

Such stations are usually staffed by elderly New Jerseyans who are particularly susceptible to COVID-19, and while the governor may call National Guard troops to boost staffing levels, sick residents are still urged to avoid contact with others whenever possible.

“If you’re sick, don’t go out,” Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Monday.

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