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Bill Amending Election Rules for 2020 NJ Primary Candidates in Response to Coronavirus Disruptions Passes Full Assembly

A measure revising requirements for candidates running in the 2020 New Jersey primaries was approved Monday by the Assembly Homeland Security and Preparedness Committee and later passed by the full Assembly, 65-0-0.

The bill (A-3863) was introduced in response to major disruptions to everyday operations throughout the state that will take place beginning today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, candidates must submit their petitions to the state with all required signatures 64 days before the upcoming election, which would be March 30, 2020. However, the bill makes an exception for this year’s candidates by allowing the petition to be submitted with just one signature by March 30, as long as the remaining required signatures are submitted by 8 a.m. on April 13 – 50 days before the primary election in June.

Upon the bill passing the full Assembly as part of a larger legislative package aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19, Assembly sponsors Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) and Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) released the following joint statement:

“As the usual order of business in our state is altered for the foreseeable future, we have to be willing to make exceptions to certain procedures. This year’s candidates, from Congressional representatives to presidential hopefuls, must be permitted to submit petition signatures at a later date so that they can participate in the upcoming primary election. It’s only fair to both them and the many voters throughout New Jersey.”