The Byram Township Council on Sept. 15 unanimously passed a resolution calling for the return to “in-person” voting this November.
The resolution, directed at New Jersey’s executive and legislative branches, says that according to the U.S. Constitution, state legislatures, not governors, “set the time, place, and manner of Congressional elections and to determine how the state chooses electors for the presidency.”
Elected officials swear to uphold the United States and New Jersey constitutions when sworn into office, the resolution states.
Councilman Harvey Roseff said he attended a special county board of elections meeting that discussed a container of 1,600 ballots for the July primary, representing about 5 percent of votes, that had been “misplaced.”
New Jersey plans to hold its first-ever mostly mail-in general election to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at polling places. But Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s plans face a legal challenge from President Donald Trump’s campaign. That injects some uncertainty into what voting will look like: Could the federal judge hearing the case side with the Trump campaign and order traditional, in-person voting at machines?
Murphy said there are four options: vote by mail; drop your ballot in one of at least 10 drop boxes per county, take your mail-in ballot to a polling place on Election Day, or vote provisionally in person on Nov. 3.
Roseff said mail-in ballots are reserved for those who request them. He reviewed problems with a mostly mail-in election: votes will be counted 10 days before election day, envelopes do not have to be post-marked up to two days after the election, and election committees. will have to bear an added burden. There will be “a lot of court cases, a lot of known and unknown, unnecessary side-effects,” he said.
In a related matter, Mayor Alexander Rubenstein read a draft resolution encouraging the governor to reopen New Jersey businesses based on region. “We’re doing a better job of controlling this whole thing,” Rubenstein said. “We’ve learned a lot.”
Officials unanimously approved the resolution as written and to be finalized by Councilwoman Cris Franco and Rubenstein based on their discussions.
The Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story. Please see related story..