Burzichelli & Singleton Bill to Eliminate Confusion During School Board Elections Clears Panel

Bill Would Align Poll Closing Time with General, Primary Elections

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli and Assemblyman Troy Singleton to eliminate confusion for voters in school board elections was advanced by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

“The integrity of our democracy hinges on making sure that all New Jersey residents can reasonably exercise their right to vote,” said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “By establishing uniformity in when polls close – regardless of the type of election – this bill will help ensure that all voters can make their voices heard.”

The bill (A-3805) would require polls for school elections to close at 8 p.m. to be consistent with general and primary elections. Under current law, if a school board election is not held at the same time as the general election, the polls must stay open until 9 p.m. The bill also changes the mandatory opening hour for school elections to 4 p.m. from 5 p.m. and changes the additional discretionary opening hour of polling places to 6 a.m. from 7 a.m., so that these hours are consistent with the current time that polls are open for general and primary elections.

“The right to vote is a fundamental part of American democracy at every level,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Working people in New Jersey with families to feed and mortgages to pay could use one less thing to have to commit to memory. Closing all polls during all elections at the same time will make it easier for New Jersey residents to remember when they can vote and eliminate any potential for uncertainty in the democratic process.”

The measure was advanced by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.