Citing concerns about voter fraud and disenfranchisement, technology and expenses, the Morris County Freeholders unanimously have come out against mail-in balloting for November 2020.
Instead, the all-Republican board is suggesting spreading in-person voting over several days, and creating outdoor polling places to allay fears of COVID-19.
Their statement follows.
From the Morris County Freeholders:
FREEHOLDERS OPPOSE MAIL-IN BALLOTING — URGE GOVERNOR TO HOLD IN-PERSON VOTING IN NOVEMBER ELECTION
Suggest Considering Multiple Days and Alternative Locations for In-Person Voting
The Morris County Board of Freeholders have passed a resolution unanimously asking the Governor and state Legislature to reject a mail-in voting system for the November Primary Election, and to consider safe COVID-19 options for in-person voting, instead.
The freeholders contend the practice of predominantly using mail-in ballots for all registered voters is fraught with concerns about voter fraud, voter disenfranchisement, postal delivery delays, significant increase in election costs, and reliance on a flawed statewide voter/DMV computer registration data base, plus significant delays in counting ballots.
Sending out 220,000 mail-in ballots for the July primary election resulted in a cost increase for Morris County of $807,000, compared to the 2019 primary election. Mailing an expected 370,000 ballots for the November election would almost double that July cost and offer more election problems.
“Many of our residents are very upset about main-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.
“We urge smart alternatives for in-person voting that would provide more opportunities and more days to vote, and more locations to safely vote,’’ said Freeholder John Krickus. “These options easily could accommodate the need for 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.