Late Thursday night, the Republican candidate for New Jersey governor released a message to Twitter where he said: “The governor’s victory speech last night was premature. No one should be declaring victory or conceding the election until every legal vote is counted.”
He also said there are “still tens of thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots yet to be counted” out of the 2.4 million ballots cast in this extremely close governor’s race.
According to Ciattarelli, it “could take another week or two, and we’ve got compliance people watching over them. If necessary, any decision on a recount or audit will come at the very end of the counting process, not before.”
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He goes on to say that all counties will continue the counting process, which could take a week or two, and added that his team has compliance people overseeing the process. If a recount is needed, he said, the call will be made after the votes are counted.
Although Murphy’s victory speech was full of thanks and praise on becoming the first Democrat in New Jersey to win a second term in 40 years, it was not the sweeping win Murphy’s camp had hoped for.
There were points during election night on Tuesday when the Democrat was trailing his Republican challenger by 50,000 votes, holding out hope that urban strongholds in Essex and Passaic County would redeem him.
In total, across 956,803 mail-in ballots were mailed to voters and 577,528 mail-in ballots have been received by the end of day Thursday, according to New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, who oversees the voting process in New Jersey.
A total of 379,275 mail-in ballots have thus far not been returned, according to her office. Ballots have until Nov. 8 to be returned and legally counted, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 2.