Last November’s election in New Jersey was conducted fairly and transparently, but learning lessons following a number of incredibly meaningful election expansions, more is needed to bolster our election infrastructure to further empower voters.
On Thursday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced a bipartisan seven-bill package geared toward strengthening our democracy. New Jersey voters must be aware of each step of the election process; legislation would improve voter trust and confidence in who is voting, how they vote, how election officials are counting ballots, and boost transparency of real-time vote count reporting.
Bills passed in committee include:
- A-3817 (Verrelli/DePhillips/Benson) Requires ballot privacy sleeves at polling place; makes various changes to early and mail-in voting procedures; creates online form to update name and residence on existing voter registration record.
- A3818 (Haider/Rooney) Designates specific dates for special fire district elections.
- A3819 (Mukherji/Dunn/Stanley) Specifies circumstances when voter will be removed from permanent vote by mail status and when ballot will be sent to primary address; requires educational campaign; makes appropriation of $5 million.
- A3820 (Karabinchak/Jaffer) Requires unaffiliated voter to request mail-in ballot for primary election and declare political party affiliation; requires election officials notify unaffiliated voters of unaffiliated status; prohibits mail-in ballot from containing visible political affiliation or designation.
- A3821 (Speight) Specifies placement of early voting locations and ballot drop offs.
- A3822 (Coughlin/DiMaio/Stanley/Dunn/Danielsen) Changes certain mail-in ballot deadlines; permits opening and canvassing of mail-in ballots prior to election day; permits pickup schedule for certain mail-in ballots; removes ability to change party affiliation at MVC.
- A3823 (Sumter/Benson/Reynolds-Jackson) Provides additional processes to maintain voter rolls; permits remote training for election workers; removes salaries of boards of elections from two percent cap on expenditure increase; exempts election worker compensation from taxation.
This package builds on voting expansions championed by Assembly Democrats, which have significantly strengthened access to the ballot box through automatic and online voter registration, vote-by-mail and early voting expansions, limits to police presence at polling places and ballot drop boxes, and more.