Voters will decide in November whether the next redrawing of New Jersey's legislative districts may be postponed for two years.
It will be one of the more unusual referendums addressing partisan gerrymandering — and yet another wrinkle in the running of democracy wrought by the coronavirus.
Democrats who control the Legislature say keeping current districts in place until 2023 is the fairest thing to do if population reports from the Census Bureau are delayed, which looks likely because of the complications of counting heads in a pandemic. That's a subterfuge for holding on to their seats for an extra term, Republicans complain, while good-government groups say the postponement would deny growing minority populations more influence in Trenton.
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Claim: New Jersey election officials threw out nearly 20 percent of mail-in ballots. Fact check: True
Absentee Ballots are fine. A person has to go through a process to get and use them. Mail-In Voting, on the other h… https://t.co/jxcfkpUuMA— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1593397833.0
A tweet on June 28 by President Trump cited voter fraud in a New Jersey election in order to bolster his argument against mail-in voting. Trump claimed that nearly 20 percent of ballots in a special election for city council representatives were fraudulent.
The municipal election was held in May in Paterson, N.J., for several city council seats. It was among a handful of elections that Gov. Phil Murphy ordered be completed exclusively by mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. To make the process easier, Murphy signed an executive order in March for ballots to be sent to all registered voters without the need for an application.
But claims of fraud began appearing in local media as early as election day.
According to a report by NPR, the fraud investigation began after the U.S. Postal Inspection Service informed local law enforcement that hundreds of mail-in ballots were stuffed inside a Paterson mailbox.
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New Jersey piloted a new online voting system for people with disabilities this week, but a lawsuit could stop the state from using it again.
Human rights activists and law school students are challenging the new voting system, arguing it's unfair to expose only one category of voters to significant risk their ballots will get hacked with impunity.
Using a special app to vote over the internet is denigrated by most cybersecurity experts, who say the threat of votes being compromised is hardly worth the convenience. Four federal technology, law enforcement and election agencies united behind a report this month bluntly warning states against adopting online voting because "ensuring ballot integrity and maintaining voter privacy is difficult, if not impossible, at this time."
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