(TRENTON) – The full Assembly passed on Monday legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo to give voters a choice in how to cast a ballot in future elections.
The bill (A-1336) would allow a registered voter to choose to vote by mail-in ballot in all future elections or in future general elections only.
“Providing this option to voters is essential to ensuring that all those who want to participate in the election process can and in a way that is convenient for them,” said Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington). “This legislation would allow voters to choose how they will cast their votes in all upcoming elections without having to worry about filling out an application for a mail-in ballot every year or election.”
Under current law, a registered voter can choose to vote by mail in ballot in all future general elections, until the voter notifies the county clerk that the voter no longer wishes to do so or unless the voter fails to vote in the fourth general election following the general election in which the voter last voted. Current law also gives the registered voter who applies for a mail-in ballot the option to receive a mail-in ballot for each election occurring in the remainder of that calendar year.
This bill would change current law to provide that a registered voter can choose to vote by mail-in ballot in all future elections, or future general elections only.
“By giving voters a choice in how they can participate, we make it easier in the future to participate in pop-up special elections and all elections,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “Between work and family responsibilities, many New Jersey voters find it difficult to fit in one more activity into their schedule. We expand voting options and we ensure more voters the opportunity to be heard.”
The bill also provides that whenever sample ballots are to be mailed prior to certain elections; only one sample ballot will be delivered to each residence address where at least one resident thereof is a registered voter. This requirement will not apply: 1) in the case of sample ballots transmitted prior to a general election and a municipal election; 2) whenever registered voters having different surnames reside at the same residence address; or 3) in the case of a registered voter whose residence address is a post office box.
Current law provides that for each election, one sample ballot must be delivered to each registered voter, even if several registered voters reside at the same address.
The measure was approved 40-31. An identical measure has been considered in the Senate. The measure also was released by the Assembly State Government Committee.