On May 15, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 144 establishing procedures for the July 7, 2020 New Jersey Primary Election. The New Jersey League of Women Voters provided the following summary:
Important details about the July 7th Primary
All active registered Republican and Democratic voters will automatically receive a vote-by-mail ballot. A pre-paid postage return envelope will be included. All unaffiliated voters and inactive Republican and Democratic voters will receive a postage-paid vote-by-mail application.
To the extent possible, there will be at least 5 readily accessible secure ballot drop box locations per county for voters to return their vote-by-mail ballots.
Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by July 7 (Election Day) and must be received by the County Board of Elections by July 14.
In-person voting options will also be available. A minimum of 1 polling location per municipality will be available and each county will open a minimum of 50% of its polling places (provided that sufficient poll workers are available). CDC guidelines for polling place safety and sanitation will be followed.
Voters who vote at polling places will vote using a provisional ballot. Voters with disabilities may vote on ADA-accessible voting machines.
Voters will not receive sample ballots, but will receive notification of their polling locations.
Voters cannot return voted vote-by-mail ballots to polling places.
TRENTON (April 8, 2020) – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 120, postponing primary elections on Tuesday, June 2nd to Tuesday, July 7th in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This includes primaries for President, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the 25th District of the New Jersey Legislature, and county and municipal elections, as well as county committee elections. Last month, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 105, which delayed certain elections set to take place in March and April until May 12th.
“Preserving basic functions of our democracy is critical in this unprecedented time,” said Governor Murphy. “Citizens exercising their right to vote should not have to risk their safety and the safety of others in order to make their voices heard. Postponing our primary elections is a difficult, yet necessary, choice to ensure that our citizens can partake in their civic duty of voting.”
“Governor Murphy’s decision to move New Jersey’s primary election to July 7, 2020 will provide our state, county, and local election officials with the time we need to prepare for a free, fair, and safe election for New Jersey voters.” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
The Order also states that all deadlines for meeting statutory requirements for a primary election that are currently scheduled to occur after April 11 will be calculated using the July 7, 2020 primary election date. This would not affect any deadlines that 1) have already passed, such as the filing deadline for candidate petitions for the primary election, or 2) will pass prior to April 11. The only exception is the deadline for change of party affiliation declaration forms to be filed, which is currently scheduled for April 8 and will move to May 13.
Additionally, independent candidate petitions will be due by 4:00 p.m. on July 7, 2020, and the electronic signature and submission requirements that were set forth in Executive Order No. 105 for primary candidates will be extended to these independent candidate petitions.
Election rules have been modified during prior emergencies, including by Governor Kean in 1982 during a severe winter storm and by the Christie Administration in 2012 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.