NJ Federal Judge Rejects Trump’s Challenge To State’s Mail-in Voting Plans
A New Jersey federal judge rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to stop the state’s new mail-in voting rules.
One of the new rules allows ballots to be counted two days after Election Day even if it doesn’t have a postmark. Another rule the Trump campaign challenged allows the state to begin processing votes, without reporting tallies as early as 10 days before Election Day.
Federal Judge Michael Shipp denied the Trump campaign’s request for a preliminary injunction, saying in his opinion the state acted within its authority.
“Although federal law prohibits New Jersey from canvassing ballots cast after Election Day, it is within New Jersey’s discretion to choose its methods of determining the timeliness of ballots, so long as there is no appreciable risk of canvassing untimely ballots,” the court’s ruling said, according to Fox News.
Judge Shipp cited state case law to support the state’s right to protect voters during the coronavirus pandemic and that “the safety and health of the people” are constitutionally entrusted to elected officials. The judge added the campaign failed to show the harm it would cause if the rules were upheld.
As long as the ballots aren’t announced until all polls in the state are closed, the rule is fine according to the judge.
When it comes to the ballot counting rule, most states begin counting their ballots a day before Election Day and in swing states, election officials and lawmakers are also seeking more time to count ballots before Election Day in order to avoid delays in determining election results.
New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbur Grewal called the ruling a win for state residents.
“A major victory for New Jersey’s voters! Today, a federal judge rejected a challenge to NJ’s new elections laws,” Grewal tweeted Tuesday. “As your AG, I will keep fighting for your right to vote and your right to remain healthy. You shouldn’t have to choose.”
While the ruling does not mean the situation is over with, the fact that the ruling came so close to the election means the rules are likely to stay in effect through Election Day.
The state has had some problems with mail-in voting including the arrest of a USPS worker for dumping mail, which included election ballots and nearly 7,000 voters in the state were sent the wrong ballot. The state has moved to replace all of the ballots within less than a day.