MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County Board of Freeholders have passed a resolution unanimously asking the Governor and state Legislature to reject a primarily mail-in voting system for the November General Election, and to consider safe COVID-19 options for in-person voting, instead.
The freeholders contend the practice of an almost-100-percent mail-in-ballot election is fraught with concerns about voter fraud, voter disenfranchisement, postal delivery delays, a significant increase in election costs, and reliance on a flawed statewide voter/DMV computer registration database, plus significant delays in counting ballots.
Sending out 220,000 mail-in ballots for the July primary election resulted in a cost Morris County about $1.1 million, or an $807,000 increase compared to the 2019 primary election. Mailing an expected 370,000 ballots for the November election could almost double that cost and offer more election problems.
“Many of our residents are very upset about mail-in balloting, and have expressed their disdain about losing their choice on how to vote,’’ said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “The Board of Freeholders feel strongly that voter “choice” should refer to “how” to vote, not just “who” to vote for in a given election cycle.’’
Rather than mail-in balloting, the freeholders are urging the state to utilize in-person machine voting, with consideration of multiple days of voting and/or use of outdoor spaces for added safety, in conjunction with mail-in balloting.
The freeholders urge smart alternatives for in-person voting that would provide more opportunities and more days to vote, and more locations to safely vote. These options easily could accommodate the need to face coverings and social distancing.
The freeholders, in their resolution, noted that well before the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey law already permitted voting by mail, if a resident requested it. So, voters who are even remotely concerned about in-person voting already have the option to request a mail-in ballot, thereby enhancing voter choice.
The freeholders have sent their resolution to Gov. Phil Murphy, New Jersey Secretary of State; President of the State Senate; Speaker of the Assembly; the Morris County legislative delegation, New Jersey Association of Counties, and all other boards of freeholders across the state.