Murphy narrowly beats Ciattarelli in NJ’s Governor Race

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Kensi Garvin, Athlete of the Issue editor/staff writer

Tuesday, November 2nd, was New Jersey’s governor election. The two candidates – Republican Jack Ciattarelli and Democrat Governor Phil Murphy- went head to head in the Governor race just a few weeks ago. Although this election wasn’t the same as prior years, the ballot counts were almost nearly the same and others are still in the process of being counted. 

The declared winner is Governor Phil Murphy but ballots are still being counted, so it is not official as of right now, and Ciattarelli is expected to concede on Friday November 19th. Usually, a winner would be declared by Tuesday night but it took until Wednesday night, the 3rd, to know where the winner stands. For the first time in New Jersey, early voting took place and vote-by-mail. 

Voting had been taking so long because of a few complications in some districts. Specifically, in Patterson, as they got locked out of their new voting machines and couldn’t get back in unless a judge unlocked them. In Essex County, 56 of their districts had poll worker errors that led to ballot counting to be postponed. While mail-in-ballots were a good way to incorporate citizens that may have not been able to go in person to the polls, it made the process much longer. The poll worker has to make sure they are signed off in the right places, put them through a machine and then later actually count them. Ballots which were postmarked from November 2nd, were not counted until November 8th, but it was likely to not change the predicted winner, Governor Phil Murphy. It was a much longer and tedious process this year, much different than previous elections. 

Some are annoyed with Ciattarelli because he failed to concede to the race early on. According to the Washington Post, Governor Murphy’s campaign manager, Mollie Binotto, said that “Assemblyman Ciattarelli is mathematically eliminated, and he must accept the results and concede the race. His continuing failure to do so is an assault on the integrity of our elections.” Ciattarelli’s campaign team responded by stating that waiting a day or two would give a clearer image of where the numbers would be and if a recount is necessary. Ciattarelli believed Murphy’s win was premature and was still counting on the 75,000 votes that are in the process of being counted. Ciattarelli will concede on November 19th. 

A trend across the state, mail-in-ballots have caused some controversy as well. The mail-ins were more in favor of Democratic candidates. In Bergen County, Ciattarelli had won, but then Murphy quickly pushed ahead due to the mail in votes. Some conservative sides believe it may have been a stolen election due to that fact. 

If Ciattarelli believes a counting error has been made and a recount is necessary, a lawsuit will have to be filed before November 19th. If there is nothing found, the party must pay for running it.