Trenton – A two-bill legislative package sponsored by Senator Jim Beach and Senator Andrew Zwicker that adjusts election calendar deadlines and also improves transparency during election-night tabulations was released from the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
The first bill, S-3519/S-3593, changes certain General Election deadlines.
The bill would reframe various deadlines related to elections to be relative to the deadline for filing petitions as they would have been prior to 2022, when changes were made via legislative action to deadlines concerning filing petitions and candidate certification, the deadline for ballot drawing, and the deadline by which clerks must provide materials to printers.
“These deadline changes will be a great help to our county clerks; it will allow them more turnaround time as they go about preparing for elections, make the system run smoother, and will make our election processes more efficient, sensible and uniform overall,” said Senator Beach (Camden/Burlington).
A second bill, S-3594, requires periodic reporting of election results on the night of primary and general elections and up until the time of a final tally thereafter.
Among other features, the bill stipulates that by 11 p.m., on the day of the election, and by 9 p.m., of every day after, until all eligible ballots have been counted and the election certified, that each county clerk, in consultation with the county board of elections of that county, must list on the county clerk’s Internet site an unofficial report detailing the number and types of ballots that have been received.
“Transparency and integrity in the electoral system lay at the heart of a functioning and healthy democracy,” said Senator Zwicker (D-Middlesex/Mercer/Somerset/Hunterdon). “This bill will help eliminate any confusion about results, and serve to counteract misinformation that may be circulating on social media or elsewhere.
“We have the good fortune to live in the greatest democracy in the world. This bill simply adds another layer of transparency to that process, and will help further ensure free and fair elections.”
The bills, S- S-3519/S-3593, and S-3594, were released by votes of 4-0, and 4-0, respectively.