Election officials process mail-in ballots with less than a month before election

It is less than a month before the 2020 general election, but voting is already underway because of mail-in voting.
The Monmouth County clerk says that New Jersey’s mostly mail-in election this year is creating some unique and difficult challenges. There was a 30-minute long line outside the County Election Services building in Freehold where people were dropping off their ballots.
“It’s just important to drop if off because of different things I’ve heard on TV, and I wanted to make my vote count,” said Annemari Raciti, of Marlboro.
Others said that they felt more comfortable dropping their ballots off in person instead of sending them through the U.S. Postal Service.
Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon says that over 450,000 ballots have already been sent out on their way to voters in the county. Staffers are still preparing for more ballots to come in.
“The ballots had to be mailed by Oct. 5, but the voter registration deadline is not until the 13th,” says Hanlon. “Ballots are going out on a continuing basis.”
Another issue Hanlon says that she is dealing with is duplicate ballots being sent out to voters. She says that any voter who receives more than one should return them to the county.
“The system will correct itself,” she says.
It is illegal to vote more than once, and Hanlon says that it will be uncovered by prosecutors.
There are reasons for the duplicate ballots, according to Hanlon. Some people move and are registered in two counties or the Motor Vehicle Commission may have created a second voter record due to something as simple as a different spelling in a name.
Hanlon says that the state has not made this year’s election process easy. She has pushed the state to give voters a choice – either apply for mail-in ballots or go to the polls. But she says that the Murphy administration has pushed the idea aside.
“Election officials knew this was going to happen and we recommended we do not do this,” Hanlon says.
Gov. Phil Murphy has all along said that the risk of COVID-19 was too great for people to be allowed to vote in person in a voting booth. He has backed mail-in voting.
Hanlon says that it is too late to make a change now. She says that they won’t be able to get the staffers and space needed for in-person voting by Nov. 3.

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