Ciattarelli law: postal voters also deserve a debate | Editorial

Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli’s recent letter to Gov. Phil Murphy was fraught with meaning, but his invitation to add a debate before the postal vote begins on September 18 is a perfectly reasonable request.

As it stands, two debates have been scheduled, but apparently no one has thought to schedule an early debate to keep pace with this earlier voting option.

“By the time we take the stage together on September 28, it is likely that tens of thousands of people will have voted already,” Ciattarelli wrote. Good point.

More people are now choosing to vote by mail – up to 87% did so in the June 2020 primary, due to the pandemic. Murphy ordered a mail-in ballot to be sent to every voter and encouraged people to use them, to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID.

So why not debate his opponent at least once before all those New Jerseyans vote, after the governor’s return from vacation in Italy?

In response to our survey, the Murphy campaign said, “Over the past four years, the Governor has organized countless briefings, media appearances and town halls to give New Jersey residents the accessibility they deserve. .

What nonsense. Murphy likes press conferences where he can respond with a joke. But he refuses on-site interviews and has refused for four years to sit on the editorial board of Star-Ledger, the state’s largest newspaper, without explanation.

And in a debate, Ciattarelli begins to play.

The two candidates are required to have two debates because they accept public money, but nothing prevents the candidates from adding another one, an ELEC spokesperson told us. Several organizations, including the League of Women Voters, have already expressed interest in organizing such an event, according to Ciattarelli.

“Logistics should not stand in the way of this important tradition for democracy,” he wrote. They should not. The debates offer voters the only chance to hear these two people, side by side. It can change people’s minds. It is the foundation of our democracy.

There is no legitimate reason for Murphy to deny voters this opportunity before they vote, including the mail-in ballots. And with his huge lead, what is Murphy so afraid of?

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