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New Jersey and Delaware hold nearly all-mail primaries

An election drop box in Hackensack, N.J.
A woman drops off a mail-in ballot in Hackensack, N.J., on Tuesday in the state’s primary election.
(Associated Press)

Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primaries in New Jersey and his home state of Delaware on Tuesday, both elections conducted mostly by mail-in ballots.

President Trump was uncontested in New Jersey and faced opposition only from a perennial gadfly candidate in Delaware’s GOP presidential primary.

Biden, the longtime Delaware senator and former vice president, faced only token opposition in the state’s primary from former contenders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both senators dropped out of the race months ago, but their names remained on the Delaware ballot.

Under Democratic Gov. John Carney’s emergency coronavirus declarations, in-person voting locations in Delaware were limited and absentee ballot applications were sent to all registered Democrats and Republicans. Voters were allowed to choose “sick or temporarily or permanently physically disabled” as a reason to be allowed to vote absentee.

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In New Jersey, voters have been mailing ballots for two weeks. But on Tuesday, in sweltering conditions, they also cast ballots at drop boxes across the state. They had until 8 p.m. Eastern to have their ballots postmarked or dropped at one of at least five boxes per county. Or they could take them to their county board of elections in person by 8 p.m.

Half of the polling places in each county were required to open for voters to cast ballots in person, though they had to use a provisional ballot that will be counted once officials determine the voter has not mailed one to county election officials already.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is not on the ballot this year, switched the election to mostly mail-in voting because of the coronavirus outbreak, though no decision has been made about the general election this fall.

In most election years, voting by mail is an unremarkable event. But this year is different because Trump has railed against states’ efforts to expand access to voting by mail as an alternative to waiting in lines at polling places during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Democratic and Republican voters on Tuesday expressed hope that the system would work.

Jennifer Strano, 48, said she voted in her first election ever in 2016 for Trump and was casting her ballot to show support for him, even though he was uncontested. She’s worried about how voting by mail will work, specifically, whether her vote will be counted — although there is no evidence a vote by mail is any less likely to be tallied. She sounded hopeful.

“I’m hoping that my vote gets counted. I’m just going to have to have faith in the system that it gets through and that my voice is heard,” she said.

Shivangi Desai, 28, said that she preferred voting by mail and that the process was easy because voting in person means possibly missing the chance to vote if work runs late or she can’t get to the polls for another reason.

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“It was really easy, and I feel like if a lot of states did this, or if a lot of counties did this, it would help getting accurate vote counts,” she said.

Democratic incumbent Sen. Cory Booker won his New Jersey primary, as did Amy Kennedy, a former history teacher from southern New Jersey and the wife of former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, in the 2nd Congressional District’s Democratic race.

She’ll go on to face Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who left the Democratic Party this year because he opposed impeaching Trump.

Elections officials continue to tally votes in several other races.


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