County board of elections official asks Murphy for embargoed ballot counts before Nov. 3

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Hudson County Board of Elections Commissioner Daniel Beckelman is asking state officials, including Gov. Phil Murphy (D), to allow embargoed ballot counts before the November 3rd general election in order to expedite results.

Hudson County Board of Elections Commissioner Daniel Beckelman. Twitter photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

In an August 14th email to Murphy, his chief of staff George Helmy, and Secretary of State Tahesha Way, Beckelman makes three requests: more drop boxes for ballots, embargoed ballot counts before Election Day, and rapid COVID-19 testing for election workers beginning October 1st.

“I suggest we start counting ballots before Election Day once they are received and approved by election boards. This will allow much quicker results for the election after 8 p.m. on election night. Of course hard results must be embargoed until that 8PM deadline,” he wrote.

“I believe as essential employees all election workers should be provided a saliva-based rapid or faster-speed COVID19 test once per week starting October 1st. These tests should be readily accessible at the county administration building. This way we can assure the continuity of processing ballots and delivering accurate results.”

As far as drop boxes are concerned, Beckelman proposes having one for completed ballots per 10,000 voters or populations of approximately 20,000 people in order to alleviate some of the strains on the U.S. Postal Service.

“Based on the COVID-19 metrics we’re seeing today, I think we could have a standard election with in person voting, but obviously that decision lies with the governor,” he told HCV over the phone today.

“If his preference is to do a largely vote-by-mail election like we did for the primary, there should be some considerations made for both safety and expediency.”

For the July 7th primary, standard in-person voting was permitted for the handicapped, but was otherwise limited to provisional ballots as residents were encouraged to vote-by-mail.

Election results were not certified until July 24th in many parts of the state.

Murphy announced early this month that the general election would also be contested largely for VBM ballots.

His office could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.