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Moriarty, DeAngelo, Wilson & Lagana Bill to Encourage Voter Participation Among Residents Temporarily Located Overseas Advances

(Trenton) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Wayne DeAngelo, Whip Wilson and Joseph Lagana to launch a pilot project to gauge the feasibility of New Jersey residents temporarily living overseas casting their ballots for certain elections through online voting was released by an Assembly panel.

“Every vote counts,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “A pilot program would allow us to determine the possibility of including residents who are out of the country in the general and primary elections. It’s time we explore these options.”

“Military deployment or temporarily living overseas should not continue to preclude an individual from participating in elections,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “This pilot project will help us test the possibility of voting over the internet.”

The bill (A-633) establishes a pilot project to permit overseas voters to cast a ballot in certain elections using the Internet. The pilot project would be for the primary election and general election occurring in the calendar year in which the bill takes effect. In the bill, “overseas voter” is defined as any person in military service who, by reason of active duty or service, is absent on the date of the election from the place of residence in the New Jersey where the person is or would be qualified to vote.

“Online voting is largely unexplored terrain,” said Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester). “However, it is a concept which deserves exploring if it means every New Jerseyan has the opportunity to participate in elections.”

“The internet has expanded the way we view participation in the electoral process,” said Lagana (D-Bergen, Passaic). “In this case, it may allow us to include a segment of the population that has been left out until now, residents that are temporarily located overseas. Every resident who can vote and wants to vote should be able to cast a ballot.”

Specifically, the bill require the Secretary of State to create an Internet-based voting system that uses technology to also ensure: 1) the authentication of the voter; 2) the ability to audit or verify the voting process by the voter and third party entities; 3) the control of the voting process by the appropriate election officials; and 4) the compatibility of the Internet-based voting process with the voting system currently used by an overseas voter. The bill’s provisions require the secretary to adopt, where possible, the best practices used in similar Internet-based voting pilot projects in other states and countries.

The measure was released by the Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.