Murphy discusses reopening process, online voter registration

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said voters will now be able to track their mail-in ballots to confirm they are received by their county clerk's office.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said voters will now be able to track their mail-in ballots to confirm they are received by their county clerk's office.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday and announced 284 new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in New Jersey along with five newly confirmed deaths, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 194,667 cases and 14,213 deaths.

The Daily Targum previously reported indoor dining and other indoor recreational businesses, like movie theaters, were scheduled to reopen at limited capacity on Friday, the start of Labor Day weekend. Murphy said state officials believe most individuals compiled with state guidelines throughout the holiday weekend.

“We had very few reported cases of knucklehead behavior, and this gives us all some hope for the days ahead as we continue to battle this virus. And for this I thank all of you for your hard work, not just over this past weekend but over these past six months,” he said.

Murphy also gave an update in regard to school reopenings. All pre-K through 12 schools must submit a plan to the Department of Education detailing their reopening plan, the Targum reported. 

He said 723 reopening plans have been finalized, with 388 districts using a hybrid model, 238 beginning the year fully remote, 69 having fully in-person classes and 28 using a combination of the above methods. Another 86 plans are currently being revised and one has yet to be reviewed.

“We have all the public health protocols and procedures in place to safeguard our children, our educators and staff and their families, and again, when there is a case of coronavirus that arises in one of our schools — and folks, there will be — we have the procedures in place to guide district leaders and local health officials to mitigate that,” he said.

Additionally, Murphy announced the state’s online voter registration application is now fully operational. To register, individuals must have their driver's license number, non-driver identification number or social security number, and the deadline to register for the upcoming election is Oct. 13. He said during the soft launch of the site this past week, approximately 13,000 people registered to vote.

The site also allows previously registered voters to confirm they are still registered, and when mail-in ballots are sent out later this month, voters can track their ballot to ensure it is received by the county clerk’s office, he said.

Murphy also updated the state’s travel advisory, which calls for travelers from certain states with high numbers of COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days upon entering New Jersey. Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia were added to the list, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were removed, meaning the advisory now applies to 35 states and territories.