TRENTON – A package of bills sponsored by Senator Wayne Bryant that would work to reform elections in New Jersey was approved today by the full Senate.
“This group of bills is designed to streamline the voting process,” said Senator Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester. “As legislators, we must ensure that all eligible voters are able to make it to the polls, and cast their vote for the people they feel best represent their interests.”
The Election Reform package includes a measure sponsored by both Senators Nia H. Gill, D-Essex and Passaic Bryant, S-28, that would create a statewide voter registration system, to help the State align with the provisions of the “Help America Vote Act of 2002.”
Also included are a number of measures designed to protect voters’ rights, and help ensure that all eligible voters are able to participate in the voting process. Senator Bryant’s measure S-2401, would standardize the recount filing deadline for elections. Currently, the deadline is on or before the second Saturday following an election. This measure would change the deadline to 15 days following the election. Another measure, S-2396, would require the Attorney General and county boards of election to produce and display election training materials and other pertinent election information to voters. A measure to provide stronger penalties for voter intimidation, S-2462, is also included. The measure would upgrade the act of voter interference and intimidation to a fourth degree crime, which carries penalties of up 18 months in jail and or fines of up to $10,000.
The election reform package also includes S-2395, would require county boards of election to prepare reports concerning the use of emergency, provisional and advance ballots. Also included is S-2389, which would allow municipalities with less than 500 residents to conduct elections by mail.
“Voters need to know the rights that they are entitled to under the law, and these measures would help improve the voting process,” Senator Bryant said.