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New Jersey holds pandemic primary

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jul 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-07 18:02:19-04

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Like many other states of late, most voted by mail, and very few actually showed up to their polling places. The Garden State cut the number of polling places by about half, while also trying to make mail-in voting easier.

Election officials sent 3.6 million people affiliated with a political party in the an absentee ballot automatically weeks ago. The other 2.4 million independent voters in New Jersey were sent applications to see if they wanted to affiliate as either a Republican or Democrat in this primary.

Hoboken resident Kaitlin Johnson got her ballot on time, but was one of the few to vote in person at Hoboken City Hall.

“It was completely empty inside and felt safe,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the post office, and I wanted to get my ballot in, so I decided to opt for in person.”

NJ also strategically placed at least five drop-boxes in every county for people to make sure they could get absentee ballots in last minute. The boxes will stay open until 8 p.m. Tuesday when polls close.

You can see the results on our website as they come in.

Some like Robert Spagnola of Springfield expressed concern about security of the mail-in process, but said he was encouraged by 24-hour surveillance cameras that monitor some of the drop-boxes.

President Trump has repeatedly called mail-in voting into question, and a recent incident of alleged fraud during a special election in Paterson, New Jersey did not help the nerves of some voters.

But state officials said the fact that the Paterson situation was uncovered proves how rare and difficult any form of election fraud is.

Mostly mail elections also take another threat mostly off the table: hacking.

“You can’t hack paper,” joked the Union County Clerk.

For official New Jersey election resources, including ballot drop box locations, where to vote in person, and tracking your mailed ballot, click here.

Congressional races to watch:

New Jersey's 2nd Congressional District

Currently repped by Jeff Van Drew, a Republican who dramatically switched from being a Democrat during President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Republican primary: Van Drew will see if he can survive in the Republican party, facing Bob Patterson, who is generally seen as more conservative.

Democratic primary: Professor Brigid Callahan Harrison, mental health advocate Amy Kennedy, who is also the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, Will Cunningham, former FBI agent Robert Turkavage, and environmentalist and professor John Francis are all vying for the position.

3rd Congressional District

A Republican primary to see who will face one-term incumbent Democrat Andy Kim in what should be a hard-fought general election battle: Former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs vs. David Richter, the wealthy former CEO of Hill International.

7th Congressional District

Republican primary to see who will face Tom Malinowski in what should be a hard-fought general election battle: A three-way race between state Senate Leader Tom Kean, Dr. Raafat Barsoom and educator Tom Phillips.

11th Congressional District

Republican primary only has one contender: Rosemary Becchi, a tax policy lawyer. Becchi should officially become the nominee Tuesday, setting up a close general election matchup against Rep. Mikie Sherrill.

5th Congressional District

Democratic primary: Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a moderate Democrat, is facing off against Glen Rock Councilmember Arati Kreibich, who was endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Republican primary: It is a four-way race between attorney John McCann, who lost in 2018, investment banker Frank Pallotta, Dr. Hector Castillo, and educator James Baldini.

13th Congressional District

Rep. Albio Sires has his first real challenger in many years in newcomer Hector Oseguera. Oseguera is pushing a more progressive agenda.

U.S. Senate

Democratic primary: Sen. Cory Booker, fresh off his unsuccessful run for president, is being pushed from the left by long-time activist Lawrence Hamm.

Republican primary: There are five candidates. Rik Mehta and Hirsh Singh are the leading contenders for the nomination.