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Possible all-VBM elections in April, May, election officials say

Plan being considered has no voting machines, no in-person polling locations

By David Wildstein, March 16 2020 1:24 pm

The Murphy administration is actively considering an all vote-by-mail elections for school board in April and for non-partisan elections in May, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

The broad strokes of an emergency plan to deal with coronavirus issues that would hold for local elections with no polling places and no voting machines was outlined today on a conference call for county clerks with Bob Giles, the director of the New Jersey Division of Elections.

There are about a dozen cities and towns in the state that still hold Board of Education elections in April, including Newark and Hackensack, and another dozen or so municipalities that hold municipal elections in May.

Giles and his staff are working on contingency plans now.

Gov. Phil Murphy has broad powers during a state of emergency and could activate the emergency plan.

Election officials are concerned about the safety of voters – 25 polling locations in the Newark school board election are at senior citizen housing facilities – and of a possible shortage of Election Day poll workers.

No decisions have been made about the state footing the bill on return postage for VBM ballots.

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