TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an executive order postponing various elections, including school board ballots in New Brunswick, Newark and 12 other districts, until May 12.

It also requires them to be conducted exclusively by mail.

The order comes as Murphy continued to look for ways to institute social distancing safeguards in all aspects of everyday life in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

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Murphy’s announcement at a press conference Thursday afternoon will affect the fire district elections in Old Bridge that had been set for March 21, the special municipal elections in Atlantic City and West Amwell Township set for March 31, as well as the school board elections scheduled for April 21.

“The actions we are taking today protect our voters, election workers and election security,” Murphy said. “As we continue to face this public health crisis, our team at the Division of Elections is working every day to protect New Jersey voters and our democracy.”

Murphy declined to delay the March 30 deadline for candidates to submit their nominating petitions to get on the ballot for the June primaries, Murphy said. Instead, candidates will collect online signatures and turn them in electronically. Those who have already collected signatures can submit them in-person.

A form for the collection of signatures will be available on the Division of Elections website, said Secretary of State Tahesha Way.

In New Brunswick, Board of Education Vice President Dale Caldwell and board members Emra Seawood and Patricia Varela are seeking re-election.

They are being opposed by Linda "Lindy" Stork and Reginald "Reggie" Parker, who have formed the Students First ticket. The third member of the ticket, Jerry Mercado, withdrew his candidacy last week.

Richard Jannarone, the Board of Education administrator and secretary, said that Maria Concepcion Powell is also running for a board seat.