A Superior Court Judge has blocked Gloucester County from installing secure ballot drop boxes for the general election until she holds a hearing on Monday after Republicans complained that only Democratic election officials decided the locations.
The Gloucester County Board of Elections was ordered to reconvene to determine drop box and polling place locations.
But Judge Mary Beth Kramer stopped short of ordering the county clerk to halt the printing of public notices announcing the drop box locations.
The two Republican commissioners, Carmine DiNovi, Jr. and David Ferrucci, said in affidavits that they were never consulted.
Jacci Vigilante, the Gloucester County GOP chair, alleged that the locations were picked to maximize Democratic turnout.
In court filings, DiNovi and Ferrucci claimed they attempted to arrange a meeting “to discuss the BOE’s responsibilities in the upcoming election,” but the decision was made without them.
“Both, the law and Governor Murphy’s executive order 177, are clear, you cannot place, open, publish or utilize any ballot drop box or polling location which has not been approved by the Board of Elections.” Vigilante said last week. “No plan can be approved by the Board without input from all four Commissioners and the Republican Commissioners were left out of the process.”
Polling locations – Murphy ordered at least one per municipality and no less than 50% of a general election not conducted primarily through vote-by-mail ballots – have not yet been determined.
Drop boxes appear to be placed in Democratic-leaning municipalities.
“The plan released for ballot drop box locations concentrates five drop boxes within ten miles of each other in the northern part of the county and another five within ten miles of each other along the 322 corridor, all in towns with higher concentrations of Democratic voters.” Stated Vigilante. “The plan leaves Harrison and East Greenwich, both with populations of 10,000 or more, with no ballot drop box locations. These towns also happen to have heavy concentrations of Republican voters.”
Gloucester is the only county in New Jersey entirely controlled by Democrats that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.