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State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Boonton). (Photo: Nikita Biryukov for the New Jersey Globe)

Senate Republicans urge in-person machine voting

By Nikita Biryukov, August 20 2020 1:26 pm

Senate Republicans are urging Gov. Phil Murphy to allow in-person machine voting on Nov. 3.

“My office is being inundated with calls and emails from people who are livid that they are being forced by executive order to vote in the upcoming presidential election by mail-in ballot,” State Sen. Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge) said. “They trust the security of a voting booth and they are willing to tolerate whatever risk is associated with spending the five minutes it takes to cast their ballot in-person to ensure their vote is counted.”

An executive order Murphy signed last week mandated that every active registered voter in the state be sent a postage-prepaid mail-in ballot for the general election in a bid to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Voters who wish to cast ballots in-person can do so provisionally at a reduced number of polling places.

“There’s no reason why voters can shop in a supermarket or wait hours on a line at a Murphy-led Motor Vehicle agency, and not be able to also spend a few minutes to cast their vote safely and securely on a machine, in-person, on Election Day,” State Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Boonton) said.

State statute already allows voters the opportunity to drop their ballots off to county clerks until 3 p.m.  the day before polls open, and Murphy’s order further allows voters to drop completed mail-in ballots off at polling places on election day.

Each county will also be outfitted with at least 10 secure ballot drop boxes in the weeks leading up to Nov. 3.

Other Republicans repeating arguments used in a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign that seeks to overturn Murphy’s recent election order, claiming the legislature, not the governor, has the power to implement those changes.

“A change as substantive as preventing voters in a presidential election from casting their ballots in person must be approved by the Legislature and accomplished by the enactment of a statute,” State Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Washington). “If the Murphy administration can make the case that closing polling centers is warranted, they should have no problem selling that to a Democrat-controlled Legislature and getting this done the right way.”

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