GOP officials oppose Dem governor’s order for vote by mail election

Elected officials in three western Monmouth County municipalities have put their opposition on the record to an executive order that requires New Jersey voters to primarily use a mail-in ballot to cast their vote in the Nov. 3 election.

The presidential election between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, who served as vice president with President Barack Obama, tops the election, which also features county and municipal races, board of education races, and public questions.

Citing concerns with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive on Aug. 14 that established new rules for the Nov. 3 election. All registered voters in New Jersey will receive a mail-in ballot by Oct. 5 and will be asked to vote using that ballot.

On Nov. 3, individuals who go to a polling location expecting to cast their ballot on a voting machine will only be permitted to cast a provisional paper ballot.

All of the provisional ballots will be reviewed after the election to ensure that each person who used a paper ballot was legally able to vote. If a ballot is deemed legal, the votes will be added to the selected candidates’ total vote count.

In recent weeks, municipal officials in Colts Neck, Freehold Township and Millstone Township – where Republicans run the governing body – passed a resolution that opposes an election that will be contested primarily through the use of mail-in ballots.

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, which has a 5-0 Republican majority, also passed a resolution that opposes an election that will be contested primarily through the use of mail-in ballots.

The resolutions from Colts Neck and Millstone state that the practice of compelling all registered voters to vote by mail has caused and will cause concern among voters for dishonesty, voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement in a mail-in election.

The resolutions also state that mandated all mail-in voting significantly delayed election results following the July 7 primary election in Monmouth County. Officials said they expect the delay in producing election results to be magnified following the Nov. 3 election.

“Voters should not have to be concerned about disenfranchisement, voter fraud and
dishonesty, or delayed election results in the November general election,” officials wrote in the resolutions.

Freehold Township’s resolution notes that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal charged individuals with illegally collecting or processing ballots in a Paterson election this year. According to the resolution, election officials in Paterson admitted that more than 3,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified.

“The Township Committee is gravely concerned that the exclusive mail-in ballot ‘experiment’ has been difficult, at best, during the primary election cycle, (which) represents a small fraction of the ballots to be cast when compared to the upcoming general election.

“The Township Committee does not believe that voting ‘experiments’ should be conducted when selecting the individuals to lead political parties, local governments, boards of education, county governments, state government or the federal government,” Freehold Township’s officials wrote.

The resolution states that voting in person can be accomplished using existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols of social distancing and face coverings.

Registered voters are expected to receive their ballot by Oct. 5 and may return the ballot immediately by mail, by bringing it to a polling location on Nov. 3, or by placing it in a drop box that will be provided at locations throughout the county.