To put it mildly, July’s all mail-in Primary Election held in New Jersey was a disaster and provides all the evidence needed to show that in-person elections are critical for the General Election in November.  

One of the biggest takeaways from the all mail election “experiment” is that a significant portion of the population wants to vote in- person, regardless of any restrictions put in place.  In Monmouth County, slightly more than 17,000 voters went to a physical poll to vote, even though they were only allowed to fill out a provisional ballot.  This enormous number of voters shows the preference and trust of the electorate to vote in-person, with mail-in an allowable option for those who cannot physically make it to a polling location.

The combination of a large number of mail-in ballots, coupled with a tremendous amount of provisional ballots, is wreaking havoc with tallying and counting the ballots and determining winners in the contested races.  It took nearly a month for Monmouth County to be able to certify the results of the election.  Further evidence of the chaos created by the all mail-in election is the fact that the governor had to assign New Jersey National Guard soldiers to assist the board of elections in various counties.

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Monmouth County is not the only locality struggling with the fallout from mail-in voting.  Four Paterson residents, including two elected officials were recently indicted on charges of voter fraud.  Luckily, a sharp-eyed postal employee noticed stacks of completed mail-in ballots neatly secured together by rubber bands and placed in mailboxes – a sure sign of mass tampering of multiple ballots.

My office has also received countless communications reporting ballots sent to deceased individuals, people who had moved from the address years, or even decades ago, ballots sent to a maiden name and a married name, and so on.  Any one of those scenarios could result in an unscrupulous individual acquiring ballots and returning them with no way to verify the authenticity once the board of elections receives them.  Then there are reports from around the country of ballots lost or delayed in the mail, showing up after the deadline, if at all.

All of this has made one inescapable fact crystal clear – we must have in-person elections in place for the general election, with mail-in ballots available for those who physically cannot make it to the polls.  If people can safely go to supermarkets, box stores, hair salons, etc., they can certainly vote in person with common sense precautions. To that end, I am introducing an Assembly resolution that would mandate in- person elections for the entire state of New Jersey.  The future of our nation depends on a fair and accurate election process. 

An all vote by mail election would have unscrupulous individuals salivating at the potential for voter fraud and the ability to manipulate the results of the election at all levels of government.  We, as loyal Americans who truly love the country, cannot allow that to happen.  New Jersey must have in-person elections this November.  Anything less would be inviting dishonesty into the election process.

Assemblyman, Gerry Scharfenberger