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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney slams New Jersey’s implementation of vote-by-mail primary

Senate President: ‘I hear from county clerks saying people don’t think they’re going to get their ballots’

By David Wildstein, June 30 2020 1:08 am

Senate President Steve Sweeney views next week’s primary election conducted almost entirely through vote-by-mail ballots as a disaster waiting to happen.

“I’ve always been a big fan of vote-by-mail, but this has not been executed well,” Sweeney said on Monday.  “I hear from county clerks saying people don’t think they’re going to get their ballots.”

Sweeney pledged a “real internal review” of an election that has been beset with computer glitches and post office delivery delays that could potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters from participating in the July 7 New Jersey primary.

“I think the administration needs to really re-look at this going forward because it’s not our finest day,” Sweeney said.  “I think there really needs to be a deep dive into this because I think the state performed horribly and we don’t know how legitimate these races are going to be.”

He pointed to recent ballot tampering charges in Paterson and a history of ballot fraud issues in Atlantic City.

“It’s unfortunate, it’s unfair that these elections are going to have an asterisk to them because ballots aren’t being counted that people cast,” the senate president said.

Sweeney distanced himself from Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order to hold the election primarily through mail-in balloting.

“I didn’t see the reason why we couldn’t have had in-person voting and vote-by-mail like we would normally do,” he stated. “The administration erred on the side of caution, which you can’t blame them.  It’s not a criticism, but if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to make sure the system works and obviously the system didn’t work very well.”

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