Bills Sponsored by Gusciora, Stender & Greenwald to Stop Gov. Christie from Wasting $12M on Special Election & Suppressing Voter Turn-Out Released by Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora and Linda Stender and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald introduced to try to stop Gov. Chris Christie from wasting $12 million on an unnecessary mid-October special election was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
One bill (A-4237) sponsored by Gusciora and Stender would change the date of the 2013 general election from Nov. 5 to Oct. 16.
The other bill (A-4249) sponsored by Greenwald – the Elections Integrity Act – would allow a registered voter who is eligible to vote at a designated polling place on the day of the special election scheduled for Oct. 16 to be offered the opportunity to vote early, at the same polling place, for the November general election.
Rather than holding the special election to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat on the day of the general election, Christie has decided to waste $12 million with a special U.S. Senate election on Oct. 16.
“What is truly mind-numbing is to expect voters to return to the ballot booths three times in three months at a great cost to taxpayers in reopening schools shut down for the summer, paying poll workers and providing overtime for added police security,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “It adds to public cynicism that government is wasteful and duplicative. That’s just plain nuts.”
“Gov. Christie’s fiscally irresponsible decision serves his own purposes and just makes it needlessly cumbersome for voters,” said Stender (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “Wasting $12 million and suppressing voter turn-out is wrong and undemocratic. It must be changed, and we’re giving the governor an opportunity here to do the right thing.”
“Gov. Christie can no longer claim with a straight face to be fiscally responsible or a defender of the rights of New Jersey voters,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “Two elections occurring in such close proximity to one another threaten to confuse voters and decrease voter participation. Permitting voters to vote in either the October or November elections will both reduce the costs of the election and maximize voter turnout.”
The Gusciora-Stender bill would direct the Secretary of State to make such adjustments to the statutory law governing the administration of the general election as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of the bill, and provide appropriate notice to state, county and local officials and to the general public as to the change of the date of the general election in 2013 required by the bill.
The Greenwald bill would essentially combine the October special election ballot and the November general election ballot. The same number of poll workers and voting machines normally allocated to each polling place to conduct an election shall be designated to conduct the October election. The votes cast early for the special election and the general election would be counted on general election day.
The bill would require the Secretary of State to issue uniform guidelines to be followed at each polling place for the purpose of implementing the provisions of the bill, and to inform state, county, and local government officials and the general public as to the availability of early voting required by the bill.
Both bills were released by the Assembly Budget Committee.