Recreational Marijuana Legalized by New Jersey Voters

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nov. 3, 2020

New Jersey’s legalization of marijuana is expected to generate $126 million a year, revenue officials say is needed after the pandemic battered the state’s finances.

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After years of legislative failures, New Jersey voters on Tuesday authorized the legal use of recreational marijuana in a year when supporters rallied around the disproportionate number of arrests for the drug in minority communities.

The ballot question passed as expected, by a wide margin, according to preliminary results from The Associated Press.

The vote allows New Jersey officials to begin the thorny, potentially lengthy process of establishing rules related to regulating and testing cannabis and issuing licenses, including how many permits to grant — and to whom.

It also instantly raises the ante for neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania, increasing pressure on lawmakers who support legalization to take action or risk losing the competitive edge to New Jersey in what is expected to be one of the largest marijuana markets in the country.

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The Electoral College allows a minority of Americans to control us all | Opinion

Posted Nov 02, 2020

By Edward Monaghan and Jessica Friesen

The Electoral college is antithetical to the founding principles of this nation, that the people will choose who governs them. The winner-take-all approach by the Electoral College denies Americans their right to have each vote treated equally under the law, especially in more populous states, like New Jersey. Maintaining this system has drastic real-world consequences that long outlast the term of the president.

The Electoral College is a system in which each state is awarded a number of electors equal to that states’ members of Congress. Presidential candidates must receive at least 270 electoral votes to win. All but two states – Maine and Nebraska – give all their electoral votes to the candidate who wins a plurality of the state’s popular vote.

This process does not fairly represent all voters. For example, each elector in Wyoming represents three times fewer people than each elector in New Jersey. This means that a single vote in Wyoming is worth more than three times a vote in New Jersey.

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5 things to watch for in New Jersey on Election Day

11/03/2020 

Politico

Rep. Jeff Van Drew on stage at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump, in Wildwood, N.J. 

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Democrat Joe Biden will almost certainly capture New Jersey’s 14 electoral votes on Tuesday, but there are plenty of other things worth paying attention to in the Garden State on Election Day.

From hotly-contested congressional races to local elections in suburban towns that were once solidly Republican to the way this year’s election is being conducted, the outcome could have a more profound impact on New Jersey’s political future than a normal election.

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Stopping traffic as a political strategy: Not exactly a shrewd Jersey thing | Editorial

Posted Nov 02, 2020

This usually doesn’t require explanation, but in New Jersey, the deliberate and spiteful obstruction of the Garden State Parkway is probably not the best way to gain support for your political cause.

It is, however, the best way to forever be remembered as a feeble-minded bully who takes cues from someone that most New Jerseyans regard as a historically bad president who has already driven the country into a ditch.

During the weekend, caravans of Donald Trump supporters jammed the Parkway, the Mario Cuomo Bridge and threatened a Joe Biden campaign bus in Texas, acts that are not only dangerous and illegal, they had the added benefit of being politically self-defeating.

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Trump defends Texas drivers who surrounded Biden bus, while the president’s supporters block traffic in New York and New Jersey.

By Neil VigdorJesse McKinleyEmma G. FitzsimmonsSydney EmberAnnie KarniStephanie Saul and 

The battle for the presidency is hitting the road.

In several instances over the last few days, supporters of President Trump have disrupted traffic. In Texas on Friday, Trump supporters surrounded a Biden campaign bus, and in New York and New Jersey on Sunday, Trump supporters halted traffic on two major highways.

On Sunday, the F.B.I. said it was investigating the Texas incident, which Mr. Biden described as an effort to run his team “off the road.”

But Mr. Trump defended the Texas drivers in a post on Twitter on Sunday night, saying, “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”

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What we will know when polls close Election Day. And what we won’t

COLLEEN O'DEA, SENIOR WRITER | NOVEMBER 2, 2020

NJ Spotlight News

 

When polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday, New Jerseyans will know more than they would on the typical election night. But calling winners in some close contests in the state — and the presidency at the national level — will likely be days away.

As of late Friday morning, about 3.17 million people in New Jersey had already voted. That represents about 80% of the total votes cast in 2016 and more than half of all ballots sent to voters. Because election officials were able to start processing ballots beginning Oct. 24, several county officials say they have already scanned most of the ballots received so far.

By the time the polls close, many counties may have already counted close to 90% of the ballots cast, and they will be able to report those results all at once. Having already scanned most of the ballots, once 8 p.m. rolls around, officials will be able to get a summary of all the pre-Election Day ballots they were able to scan right away.

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Van Drew spent almost $30k on Washington eateries, sometimes on days he skipped COVID meetings

By David WildsteinOctober 31 2020 

New Jersey Globe

Rep. Jeff Van Drew.

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After less than two years in Congress, Rep. Jeff Van Drew developed a penchant for fine dining at some of Washington’s swankiest steakhouses, even on days when he had missed House committee meetings.

Fortunately for the retired dentist from a working class South Jersey district, he didn’t have to pick up the tab himself.

During his first term in Congress, Van Drew used his re-election campaign account to pick up nearly $30,000 worth of meals and beverages, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

More than 77% of that was spent at two upscale steakhouses where the freshman Democrat-turned-Republican has seemingly become a regular: Prime Rib, where waiters wear tuxedos and walk on a legendary leopard skin carpet; and at the Steakhouse Del Frisco, where a bone-in Strip Steak goes for $68.

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N.J. moves to ease $919M tax increases businesses will get socked with because of high unemployment

Posted Oct 29, 2020

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill to lessen the blow of a $919 million unemployment payroll tax increase businesses will be hit with next year to begin replenishing the unemployment trust fund.

More than 1.7 million New Jersey workers have sought unemployment benefits since mid-March, when Gov. Phil Murphy ordered much of the state shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The state has paid out more than $5.4 billion to people out of work, depleting the unemployment trust fund.

The Unemployment Trust Fund is financed through employer and employee contributions. Employees all pay the same tax rate on their first $35,300 in wages, while an employer’s contributions depend on the overall fund balance and how many of their own employees have claimed benefits.

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Trump and Biden teams prep for once-outlandish election standoffs

The 2020 election has come to this.

Lawyers for Donald Trump and Joe Biden are poring over arcane federal law to prepare for the possibility that a close or contested election might trigger two little-understood and barely tested scenarios.

First, there’s the chance that officials within a closely contested state might send two different results to Congress, one giving Trump the win, the other giving Biden the win. It’s a scenario that almost happened in Florida in 2000, and one that would leave the country without an obvious path to determine who won the state — and possibly the country.

Second, there’s the chance that the House of Representatives has to step in if no candidate clears the 270 electoral-vote threshold needed to win the presidency. While more clear-cut legally, this situation would still create a confusing moment in which each state delegation gets to cast just one vote for president. So even though Democrats control the House, they wouldn’t necessarily have the advantage, angering swaths of the country.

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Biden has big lead over Trump in N.J. as Election Day nears

Posted Oct 29, 2020

This is why the presidential candidates aren’t spending much time in New Jersey this fall.

Former Vice President Joe Biden held a 24-point lead over President Donald Trump in New Jersey, while U.S. Sen. Cory Booker led Republican Rik Mehta by 30 points, according to a poll released Thursday. .

Biden’s edge among likely voters was 61% to 37%, in the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll. In the state’s U.S. Senate race, Booker, D-N.J., was ahead of Mehta, a pharmacist and lawyer, 61% to 31%.

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