N.J. launching online voter registration portal

In a continued effort to drive up voter registration in New Jersey before the November election, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that the Division of Elections is launching an online voter registration form.

“During the ‘soft launch’ period over the past week, nearly 13,000 new voters safely registered online,” Murphy explained. “All you need to securely register to vote is your driver’s license number or non-driver identification number, or your Social Security number.”

The deadline to register to vote in the state to be eligible to vote in November is Oct. 13. The registration form is available on the state’s election website under the “Register to Vote” section.

Residents throughout the state can visit the website to check their own voter registration status. Murphy also promised that, once mail-in ballots are sent out later in the month, voters will be able to set up an account and track when their ballot is received by the country clerk.

Other notes from Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing:

Health metrics

An additional 284 positive test results have been reported throughout the state, bringing the total to 194,667.

There have been five additional deaths reported that have now been confirmed to be from COVID-19-related complications. All five of these deaths occurred more than two months ago. The statewide total of confirmed deaths is now 14,213.

There were another five deaths reported in hospitals Monday, but since they are not yet lab-confirmed to be related to COVID-19, they are not yet included in the death total.

Other hospital numbers:

  • In hospital: 419 (227 confirmed cases, 192 under investigation);
  • In ICU: 82;
  • On ventilators: 33;
  • Rate of transmission: 10;
  • Positivity rate: 83% (from Sept. 4).

School reopening plans

The governor gave an update on the amount of school reopening plans that the Department of Education is continuing to receive on a daily basis.

“As of this morning, 723 reopening plans are complete,” Murphy said. “86 (plans) have been returned for revision and one is awaiting review.”

Out of all the finalized plans, 388 schools are opening with a hybrid of in-person and remote learning, 69 are all in-person, 238 are all-remote, and 28 are some combination of the three options.

Murphy again showed praise for all those who are helping to make sure students in New Jersey can go back to school safely this fall.

“To our administrators, I thank you for your leadership throughout the summer and as this new year begins,” Murphy said. “To our educators, I thank you for your commitment to your students, wherever and however they are learning. And, to our students and families, I wish you nothing but a good year full of learning and good health.”

Travel advisory list

Murphy again had an update on the list of states that have made New Jersey’s travel advisory list. Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia have been added to the list, while Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have been removed.

“We continue to ask everyone to practice self-responsibility and good citizenship by complying with our travel advisories,” Murphy said. “… This goes equally whether you are a visitor or a New Jersey resident returning home.”

If arriving to New Jersey from one of these states, visitors are asked to observe a 14-day self-quarantine. States on the list have had, over a seven-day rolling average, either more than 10 new cases per 100,000 residents, or a daily positivity greater than 10%. Residents can view the full list of states on New Jersey’s travel website.

Final words

Murphy on the state’s efforts to keep students safe in reopening:

We have all of the public health protocols and procedures in place to safeguard our children, our educators and staff, and their families. And, again, when there is a case of coronavirus that arises in one of our schools, we have the procedures in place to guide district leaders and local health officials to mitigate it.”

Murphy on the return of indoor dining:

With the return of limited indoor dining and limited-capacity movie showings, among everything else, we had very few reported cases of knucklehead behavior. And this gives us all some hope for the days ahead as we continue to battle this virus. And, for this, I thank all of you for all your hard work — over this past weekend, and over these past six months.”