Relieving certain costs for counties to officiate mail-in ballot procedures, legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Patricia Jones allowing for reimbursement cleared the full Assembly Monday 55-19-0. The bill now goes to the Governor for further consideration.
Jones was also the prime sponsor of legislation mandating automatic renewal of vote by mail applications helping to ensuring greater participation by voters in future elections. It was signed into law last August.
The bill (A-6063) released today by the Assembly panel would create a fund to reimburse counties for the cost of implementing laws enacted in 2018 and 2019 that require county clerks to provide mail-in ballots for all future elections to voters who requested a mail-in ballot for the 2016 general election, or any election in 2017 and 2018. The bill would require an annual appropriation to the new fund for each State fiscal year.
The measure also includes an appropriation for the current State fiscal year of $3,000,000 from the State General Fund for deposit into the new fund to reimburse counties for the additional direct costs incurred in carrying out the purpose of the 2018 and 2019 laws.
The sponsor issued the following statement on the bill:
“Nearly 300,000 vote-by-mail ballots were returned last year instead of voters going to the polls. Vote-by-mail is vital to ensuring every eligible voter can participate in the election process. It serves many residents who are not able to go personally to the polling centers for any reason. Creating a fund will help offset certain costs incurred by individual counties sending out these ballots to those who request them.”