Aug 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

New Jersey to send ballots to all active registered voters

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in January.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in January. Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) told CNN on Friday that the state will conduct its general election mostly by mail as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

Why it matters: Murphy's announcement comes as President Trump has spent the last several months attacking mail-in voting as a practice he claims — without strong evidence — is susceptible to voter fraud.

How it works: The state will send ballots to all active registered voters while also giving them the option to vote in person, Murphy said. It's the same hybrid model used in New Jersey's July primaries.

  • Those who vote in person will file provisional ballots to ensure they did not already cast their vote via mail.

The big picture: Four states, now including New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have decided to mail ballots to voters before the November election as the pandemic rages on. Five other states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — already conduct universal mail elections.

Flashback: Four men — including a city councilman — were charged with voter fraud after a Paterson, N.J., election this May, the Washington Post reports.

  • Trump has used those charges repeatedly as an episode of alleged fraud.
  • Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh told the Post that scheme would be difficult to reproduce in other cities, much less on a national scale during a presidential election.

What he's saying: "...we've learned some lessons including we're going to have more presence of secure drop boxes and make sure there is that physical, voting capacity," Murphy told CNN.

  • "There were some very specific issues around the Paterson mail-in ballots during our May local elections, and law enforcement is actually pursuing that. Overwhelmingly, this was successful," Murphy said referring to the hybrid model.

Murphy said he would sign an executive order later Friday to enact the changes, per WaPo.

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