Hopewell Valley Democrats support universal vote by mail ballots for all elections


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Citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public, the Hopewell Valley Democratic Club (HVDC) calls for universal vote by mail for all future New Jersey elections.

“Our club mission is centered on increasing voter engagement and participation,” said Chris Malikschmitt, HVDC chair, in a statement provided by the club. “As we discussed the impact of COVID-19 on elections, it became obvious that shifting all future New Jersey elections to vote by mail, starting with the June 2 primary and the Nov. 3 general election, is best for all voters.”

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Current New Jersey law allows vote by mail, but registered voters must apply.

Malikschmitt noted that the HVDC has suspended its monthly First Friday coffees at Sourland Coffee in Pennington in compliance with state guidelines, and conducts its meetings by teleconference.

“It’s a real dilemma: how do you carry on the very human activities of politics and elections without endangering human health? How do we protect our cherished right to vote without exposing voters to unnecessary risks?” he said in the statement.

Citing similar issues, Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 105 on March 9, which instructs the state government to issue vote by mail ballots directly to all eligible voters in the upcoming May 12 elections regardless of whether they have separately applied for vote by mail.

“Our vital compliance with Gov. Murphy’s order to stay at home because of the virus does not need to suppress our most essential right as Americans,” Malikschmitt said in the statement. “Timely action by the governor and Legislature will give election officials the time they need to organize effectively and efficiently.”

He noted that an additional benefit of vote by mail is that it provides an auditable paper trail for every vote cast, reducing the risk of tampering and making recounts in close elections more reliable.

“Fortunately, we in New Jersey already know how to conduct vote by mail at a large scale and we know it boosts turnout. We hope the governor and Legislature will work quickly even in these days of crisis,” Malikschmitt said in the statement.

The Hopewell Valley Democratic Club is a volunteer organization focused on encouraging voter participation, civic engagement and supporting Democratic candidates. Visit facebook.com/HVDems/


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