NJ’s vote-by-mail system might be here to stay
There’s been a lot of discussion and debate over the increased use of vote-by-mail or drop-off ballots in this year’s election, because of fears about in-person voting due to the ongoing pandemic.
Overall, the system appears to have worked well in the Garden State and many political experts believe this will probably change the way elections are going to be held.
Ben Dworkin, the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, said having so many Garden State residents using the mail-in or drop off ballots this year (more than 3.7 million mail-in votes had been cast by mid-afternoon yesterday) has created an entirely new campaign structure.
He said it would seem “the preference now."
"The emphasis on vote-by-mail is something that will probably be continued even after the pandemic is gone," he said.
“It is something that encourages democracy. People are able to vote easier when they get a ballot in the mail, so I think there’s going to be a big push to keep it as opposed to just having your regular lines at your polling place.”
He pointed out New Jersey residents who wanted to cast a ballot in person still had the opportunity to do so on Election Day, and they were still able to drop their ballots into the mail or deliver them to a designated drop box until 8 p.m.
Because New Jersey officials anticipated the vast majority of registered voters would be returning their ballots by mail, Board of Elections offices in all 21 counties were permitted to begin sorting and verifying the authenticity of the ballots 10 days before Election Day to make sure all ballots were counted by Nov. 9. It’s not known if a similar system would be adopted if vote-by-mail becomes the norm in future New Jersey elections.