Coronavirus update: N.J. military, overseas ballots delayed; testing hits 20,000 goal

Willie Johnson, right, a resident of senior housing, gets tested for COVID-19 in Paterson, N.J., Friday, May 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Willie Johnson, right, a resident of senior housing, gets tested for COVID-19 in Paterson, N.J., Friday, May 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

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New Jersey reported 970 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 156,628. The total number of cases reported in the last seven days was 5,156, a level that has not been seen since late March.

Another 148 people died of complications from COVID-19. The state has now lost 11,339 residents to the pandemic.

Military, overseas ballot mailings delayed

The mailing of some military and overseas ballots has been delayed due to an error in the  software, according to the New Jersey Globe. Officials attempted to resolve the issue over Memorial Day weekend but were not successful. Another solution will be attempted in the upcoming days, but it is uncertain if the error will be fixed in time for the primary election.

While the state Division of Elections normally handles this task from a statewide database, it informed county clerks that they should mail the ballots for voters in their area.

States are required to mail military and overseas ballots at least 45 days before an election, according to the The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE). With the primary on July 7, that 45 day deadline would have been May 23.

Other problems plague the mail-in ballot mailings. A new application for unaffiliated voters has not yet been completed, and there have been issues with bilingual ballots.

Gov. Murphy had announced on May 15 that every voter would receive a mail-in ballot or application in time to participate in the July primary.

New Jersey meets goal of 20,000 tests per day

Gov. Murphy announced that the state had met its goal of 20,000 tests per day, with 27,000 tests completed on Friday, May 22. Testing remained over 20,000 per day over the long weekend with the exception of Memorial Day, which still hosted 16,000 tests.

The governor received details mid-briefing and announced that 24,400 tests were completed on Tuesday, bringing the state back above the 20,000 goal.

New Jersey residents can get tested at any of the 164 locations in the state. Anyone can be tested, though testing remains prioritized for health care workers, first responders or staff in congregate facilities such as a nursing home, and anyone who has been exposed to the coronavirus or has symptoms.

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