(Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)
The nine days of early in-person voting in New Jersey attracted about 207,000 people across 139 polling locations, representing 3% of the state’s roughly 6.6 million registered voters, according to New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
This was the first year voters had the option to vote early on a machine in the Garden State, thanks to a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed allowing voters to cast their ballots early between Oct. 23 and Oct. 31. Murphy has used the law to differentiate New Jersey from states that sought to restrict ballot access after last year’s presidential race.
“I think that’s a terrific result, and that’s alongside just under 500,000 votes by mail, so you have 700,000 votes that have been cast,” Murphy said during his weekly press briefing Monday. “That’s a big step in the right direction in terms of democracy.”
Democrats are taking the lead on mail-in and early voting, according to the New Jersey Division of Elections. More than 300,000 registered Democrats mailed in their ballots, with another 92,000 opting to vote early on a machine. Meanwhile, fewer than 100,000 Republicans voted by mail, while 65,000 voted early in person.
There are roughly 1 million more registered Democrats in New Jersey than Republicans.
Way said the hundreds of thousands of early voters shows the necessity for the option.
“Success is really affording voters all options to participate in democracy and of course, to modernize our election infrastructure,” she said, adding “it’s always good to have these viable options on the table.”
On Tuesday, polls will open to any registered voters who haven’t yet cast their ballots. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. People who have asked for a mail-in ballot but decide to vote in person instead will be given a provisional ballot at their polling place.
State officials are urging voters who haven’t cast mail-in ballots not to mail them at this point, and to use one of the drop boxes located in their county or to deliver them to their county’s elections board.
On the ballot this year are the race for governor — a race slightly tightening between incumbent Murphy and Jack Ciattarelli, the GOP candidate — all 120 legislative seats, council and local school board seats, and two statewide ballot questions.
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