Murphy to Trump: ‘We will not back down’ on vote-by-mail

Gov. Phil Murphy continued his criticism of President Donald Trump’s administration for what Murphy says are attempts to halt funding for the U.S. Postal Service and stop the vote-by-mail process throughout the country.

“The president’s campaign is putting itself on record as wanting to delegitimize our November election, instead of working with us to ensure that voters’ rights are upheld, along with public health,” he said.

Murphy has said voters would still be able to vote in person if they choose — and that there will be in-person polling locations in every county that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The state hopes to have the mail-in ballots sent out to voters by Oct. 5 at the latest.

“This goes far beyond attempts at weaponizing the United States Postal Service to disenfranchise voters,” Murphy said. “This is now becoming a full-throated propaganda campaign to undermine the election itself.”

Murphy, speaking at his COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, said his voting plan will keep voters safe.

“Vote-by-mail in this election will keep people safe. Period,” he said.

Concerns with mail-in voting in the state of New Jersey have increased after rumors of fraud in Paterson’s local elections May 12. State law enforcement officials were tipped off by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that hundreds of mail-in ballots were stuffed into a Paterson mailbox.

Murphy said he is tired of hearing about the Paterson election — and that he looks at this situation as an outlier.

“I don’t know that I’ve got much more to add on Paterson,” he said. “It wasn’t in the primary, it was a local election, some guys tried to mess with the system, and they got caught. … If they get convicted, they will pay a price for that.”

The incident in Paterson did not seem to affect voter turnout in June’s primary election, however. Murphy noted that turnout was higher than ever.

“New Jersey’s efforts to expand participation through vote-by-mail have been ongoing for years, and have proven successful in election after election,” he said. “We had the second-highest primary turnout in state history despite an ongoing public health emergency.”

With pressure coming from Trump to limit mail-in voting, Murphy believes that there is more at stake in this election than choosing the next president.

“The sanctity of our democratic processes must be — and will be — preserved,” he said. “As the president and his team try to delegitimize our election and impact the health and safety of millions of New Jerseyans, we will defend our rights vigorously and we will not back down. So, bring it on.”

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