Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, lead sponsor of a bill that would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election provided they will turn 18 on or before the succeeding general election (A-3591), issued the following statement Friday after the governor vetoed the legislation:
“This year alone, more than 23,000 young people who will be eligible to vote in November were unable to participate in the June primary. This bill, which received bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate, presented an opportunity to change that scenario and empower thousands of new voters in future elections. It simply was about making our democracy more fair by ensuring that everyone who can vote in a general election would have a say in nominating who appears on the ballot.
“Our goal – regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof – should be to encourage more people to engage in the process of choosing who represents them. Leaders in a number of states have enacted legislation similar to the ‘New Voter Empowerment Act’, because they understand how important that idea is. This veto is a step backward for New Jersey that only serves to discourage young voters and discount the value they can bring to the democratic process.”