Home>Governor>Trump suit an attempt to ‘sow fear and confusion to delegitimize’ election, Murphy says

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

Trump suit an attempt to ‘sow fear and confusion to delegitimize’ election, Murphy says

Governor incensed at preisdent’s bid to nix New Jersey’s mostly-vote-by-mail election

By Nikita Biryukov, August 19 2020 2:53 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy was incensed by a lawsuit launched by President Donald Trump’s campaign seeking to invalidate an executive order that mandates every registered voter in the state will receive a postage-prepaid mail-in ballot for the general election.

“The president’s campaign is putting itself on record as wanting to delegitimize our November election instead of working with us to ensure that voters’ rights are upheld alongside public health,” Murphy said Wednesday. “This goes far beyond attempts at weaponizing the U.S. Postal Service to disenfranchise voters. This is now becoming a full-throated propaganda campaign to undermine the election itself.”

Under the order, voters who do not wish to cast their ballots through the post can still vote in-person, though they’ll have to cast a provisional ballot at a reduced number of polling places — the state is aiming for 50% capacity in each of its 21 counties, with at least one polling place per municipality.

Voters with disabilities will still be able to cast votes using voting machines compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Let me be clear: Vote by mail in this election will keep people safe, period,” Murphy said. “The Trump campaign is embarking on a brazen attempt to sow fear and confusion to delegitimize our elections and cast doubt on our democratic process.”

The suit claims the governor’s order violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, among other things.

In recent months, Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that mail-in voting would lead to widespread fraud in November, though the president has previously voted by mail and requested a mail-in ballot for Florida’s recent primaries as recently as last Wednesday, Aug. 12.

“They’re trying to distract us from focusing on our future, but we will not be distracted,” Murphy said. “Our plans for November will move forward. If vote by mail is good enough for the president, it’s good enough for all of us.”

To bolster his baseless claims of widespread fraud, Trump has pointed to a non-partisan municipal election held in Paterson in May that saw two candidates, including a sitting councilman, and others charged over their alleged roles in a vote-by-mail fraud scheme.

That race saw roughly 900 ballots mailed in bulk from three mailboxes, including more than 300 ballots rubber-banded together and mailed from a mailbox in neighboring Haledon.

Murphy contests that the alleged fraud in Paterson was an example of the system working. The problem was identified, and those believed to be responsible were charged, he said.

“The sanctity of our democratic processes must be and will be preserved. As the president and his team try to delegitimize our election and impact the health and safety of millions of New Jerseyans, we will defend our rights vigorously, and we will not back down,” Murphy said. “So, as they say, bring it on.”

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