Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Murphy's Order Moves New Jersey Presidential Primary Back to July 7

Citing the choice Wisconsin primary voters had to make between voting and their own health a day earlier, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) on Wednesday, April 8 issued an executive order moving the primary in the Garden state from June 2 back five weeks to July 7. 

While the move may help avoid any overlap between in-person voting and the peak of the coronavirus, the new date does run afoul of national party rules on the timing of primaries and caucuses by a full four weeks. The New Jersey Democratic Party will have to bring that change before the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee in particular for the national party's approval on any likely waiver request. 

But this is a big one. It is one thing for a state to push into late June, but another to move all the way into July. New Jersey Democrats' cause will undoubtedly be helped out to some degree by the DNC decision to shift the national convention from July to August.

The New Jersey change is now reflected on the 2020 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

UPDATE (4/13/20): The New Jersey state legislature unanimously passed legislation backing Governor Murphy's executive order to push the primary back 35 days to July 7.

UPDATE (5/15/20): Governor Murphy issued another executive order to provide vote-by-mail ballots to every registered voter in New Jersey in an effort to further protect public health amid the threat of the coronavirus. There will still be an in-person option, but there will be a reduced number of polling locations on primary day, July 7. As long as the ballots are postmarked on or before July 7, then they will be accepted and counted as late as July 14. 

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