N.J. on pace to top 4M votes tallied, new state record

There’s no doubt which presidential candidate New Jersey supported, as approximately 6 in 10 voters selected former Vice President Joe Biden. But that doesn’t mean the state has stopped counting votes.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he expects that number will be a record total once it is tallied.

“We don’t have a complete count yet, but we expect, when all is said and done, well over 4 million New Jerseyans will have made their voices heard,” he said during his COVID briefing Thursday.

As of Thursday afternoon, 66% of the expected votes have been counted. At nearly 3 million (2,925,840), the total is well on the way to beating the 2016 vote total of 3.9 million.

Unsurprisingly, New Jersey has already been called for Biden, as the split currently sits at 60.6% for the Democratic nominee and 38.2% for incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. Historically, New Jersey has not gone to a Republican nominee since the 1988 election of Republican President George H.W. Bush.

Murphy said he liked what he saw on Election Day.

“Very few glitches on Election Day,” he said. “Very few glitches, frankly, in the entire election season, and that is very gratifying.”

Other notes from Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing:

Health metrics

The state had yet another concerning day from the COVID-19 standpoint, as there were 2,104 positive test results confirmed Thursday. As the nation reached the sobering total of 100,000 new cases in a day for the first time, New Jersey’s cumulative total is now at 247,219.

Bergen, Essex, and Passaic counties continue to be areas of concern, as each is today reporting more than 200 cases. Camden, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth and Union counties also all have over 100 new cases reported. Since Monday’s update, there have been 6,408 new cases.

There are 12 additional deaths being reported that have now been lab-confirmed to be from COVID-related complications. The total death number in New Jersey is now at 14,603, with an additional 1,800 probable deaths.

Other hospital numbers:

  • In hospital: 1,224;
  • In ICU: 238;
  • On ventilators: 85;
  • Rate of transmission: 26;
  • Positivity rate: 74% (from Nov. 1).

Cannabis vote

By a 2-1 margin, New Jersey joined Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Washington, D.C., Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Oregon, Washington state and California as states where recreational adult-use marijuana use is now legal.

“This is a matter of social justice, racial justice, economic justice and flat-out common sense,” Murphy said. “I am proud that New Jersey is now joining the other states which have similarly come to recognize that our outdated marijuana laws really ended up doing little more than sending Black and brown, mostly young men, to jail and thereby limiting their potential and harming our communities.”

Veterans’ taxes

Murphy said he was happy to see the measure to extend the property tax deduction that veterans see during times of war to peacetime, as well. It is a savings of approximately $250.

“When you’re in the armed services, you don’t make the decision of whether or not we’re going to war or you’re going to war, that gets made by other folks,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to pay a price for not being in a war. … If you’re a veteran, you deserve equal treatment and with that we have solved that riddle.”

The final word

Murphy on New Jersey’s voting efforts:

“I thank every New Jerseyan who cast a ballot, whether you voted by mail or on Election Day and regardless of who you voted for. Our civic society, our governmental institutions and our democratic system are based on the votes of the people. The more people participate in this process, the stronger each becomes. … Votes choose leaders. Leaders don’t choose votes.”