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Campaign 2021: Early Voting Begins In New Jersey And New York City

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Early voting is now underway in New Jersey and New York City.

It's the first time the Garden State is holding early, in-person voting, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.

Ten days before Election Day, voters across New Jersey are eager to have their voices heard.

"Just dropped it at the ballot box. Easy peasy," said Carol Filingeri, of Fort Lee.

"Boom. Done," said Susan Bast.

"I'll be doing some traveling, so rather than doing the mail-in ballot, I figured this was actually a good idea," one man told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon.

"It was pretty easy for me to follow. I don't know about older people, but I mean, I touched the buttons, there was no problem," another voter said.

This year, there are more ways than ever to cast your ballot.

Watch Christina Fan's report --

In March, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law mandating in-person, early voting as an option for this fall's general election.

"I think the more options we give people, the more representation we're going to have," said Bast.

"We have every reason to believe that easing access to the ballot will enhance voter turnout among all age groups," said Elizabeth Matto, an associate research professor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

To get the word out, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon held a demonstration earlier in October to show off the new technology.

"It will be a very different experience in many ways for voters," said Hanlon.

The big question on voters' minds -- who will be the next governor of New Jersey?

A recent poll has Murphy with a six-point lead ahead of Republican challenger Jack Ciatarelli. Just a month ago, another poll had Murphy up 51% to Ciattarelli with 38%.

With such a close race, the candidates spent the day going town to town campaigning.

Murphy cast his own ballot in Long Branch on Saturday morning before hosting an early vote rally Saturday night in Newark alongside former president Barack Obama.

"We have come so far, but our work is not done," Murphy said. "There's a chance if we don't turn out and vote, and I know you will, that these guys could steal this one from us."

The former president took aim at Ciattarelli, questioning his attendance at a 2020 presidential campaign rally.

"Apparently Phil's opponent says he didn't know it was a rally to overturn the results of the last election. Didn't know it. Really? C'mon. When you are standing in front of a sign that says 'Stop the Steal' and there's a guy in the crowd waving a confederate flag, you know this isn't a neighborhood barbecue," Obama said.


Ciattarelli did not vote Saturday but spent the day at several campaign events.

"If you really want change you can make a change, by the way you vote this November," he said.

In East Brunswick, he showed no concern about the former president's endorsement of his opponent.

"We call that the choreography of politics. You know who we brought in for Jack Ciatarelli? Jack Ciatrelli. I go out and shake hands with New Jerseyans all up and down the state, and that's how we win an election," he said.

Many voters told CBS2 taxes are the main issue influencing their vote.

In-person, early voting runs through Oct. 31 in New York and New Jersey.

New Jersey polls must be open Monday through Saturday from at least 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from at least 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. Saturday in New York City, but daily hours will vary.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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