(TRENTON) – Aiming to make absentee voting more convenient and accessible this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation to require county boards of election to place ballot drop boxes in every New Jersey county received final legislative approval on Thursday, passing the Assembly 50-28 and Senate 23-14. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk.
Under the measure (A-4475), ballot drop boxes where voters may deposit their mail-in ballots must be installed 45 days before the election. Drop boxes would be available 24 hours a day and placed at locations equipped with security cameras.
Boxes would be placed at any county government building in which the main office of the county clerk is located; any municipal government building in which the main office of the municipal clerk is located in municipalities with populations larger than 5,000 residents; the main campus of each county community college; the main campus of each State college or university; and the main campus of each independent four-year college or university with enrollments larger than 5,000 students.
The bill’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon), Daniel Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) and Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) released the following joint statement:
“For a variety of reasons, some voters may feel uncomfortable standing in line at the polls during COVID-19. At the same time, some may not want to put their ballot in the mail and risk delivery delays.
“Drop boxes are a convenient option for voters to easily and securely cast their ballot. By expanding the number of drop boxes available to voters, we are giving them another option to safely make their voice heard.”