New Jersey will postpone its presidential primary to July 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the state, two people familiar with the matter told The Inquirer on Tuesday. The primary was originally scheduled for June 2.
The governor’s office declined to comment, though sources said the administration is likely to make an announcement later this week.
In recent weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy has moved to protect voters from being exposed to the coronavirus while carrying out a civic duty. Local elections scheduled in April and May were rescheduled to May 12, Murphy said in mid-March. He ordered them to be held exclusively through vote-by-mail.
At the time, he hadn’t decided on what to do for the primary, but indicated Friday that “he would be stunned” if the election remained on its scheduled date. In March, the Pennsylvania primary was moved from April 28 to June 2.
On July 7, New Jersey voters will cast primary ballots for the presidential race, the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Cory Booker, and the state’s entire delegation to the U.S. House.
The move comes as Wisconsin voters, many donning face masks, headed to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in their presidential primary. Republican leaders insisted on keeping the primary date as scheduled. On Monday, the state Supreme Court blocked an effort by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to postpone the primary to June.
Experts have criticized the voting in Wisconsin as both a public health risk and an attempt to disenfranchise voters who may be sick. Every other state that had a scheduled primary date in April decided to reschedule or move to vote-by-mail.
Murphy has repeatedly told Garden State residents to follow his orders to stay at home in order to flatten the curve in New Jersey.