Candidates will be able to collect and submit nominating petition signatures digitally or in-person for the state’s June primaries, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday.
“We want campaigns to have the option to collect signatures either virtually or in-person, but we are hopeful that all campaigns will ensure that the collection of signatures is done safely and responsibly,” Murphy said during the day’s virus briefing.
The online petitions will appear on the New Jersey Secretary of State’s office on Monday, and the governor plans to sign an executive order allowing for the collection of in-person signatures sometime the same day.
The move is a departure from last year, when Murphy urged all candidates to collect and file their signatures electronically.
It’s not clear whether any filing procedures will see changes from last year, though news on that front should arrive in the coming days or weeks.
“The secretary of state’s office will be in touch as the election season progresses on how to hand in petitions,” Murphy chief counsel Parimal Garg said.
Last year’s system required candidates to fill out and save a one-page nominating petition listing their name, address, party affiliation and other similar information before transmitting it to voters.
Those voters each had to print, fill, sign, scan and, finally, return the petition page to the candidate. Each page had a slot for only a single signature, and each of those one-page petitions — potentially thousands of them for U.S. Senate candidates last year — must be electronically transmitted to election officials.
It’s likely signature thresholds will remain unchanged this year, meaning state lawmakers will still need to amass 100 valid signatures to end up on the ballot.