TRENTON – A package of bills sponsored by Senator Wayne R. Bryant designed to reform New Jersey’s election process was signed into law today by Governor Richard J. Codey.
“All of these measures would help simplify the voting process for New Jerseyans,” said Senator Bryant, D- Camden and Gloucester. “Many voters are confused when they get to the polls. This measure would help streamline the process and allow residents to focus on the task at hand – electing the most qualified candidate.”
Senator Bryant’s bill package includes S-28, which helps the State comply with provisions of the Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, and also creates a Statewide voter registration system. Also included in the package is S-30, a measure also sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill, D-Essex and Passaic, that requires the posting of the “Voters Bill of Rights” at each polling location. Included in the “Voter’s Bill of Rights,” are instructions for first time voters and information on state and federal laws that prohibit voting fraud, and the penalties for such acts. County boards of election are required to post the notice in polling places before they open on election days. Included in the package is S-2396, which requires the Attorney General and county boards of elections to produce elections training materials for polling place clerks, and also produce and display pertinent information like registration deadlines and information on absentee ballots to voters. Another measure, S-2395, requires county boards of election to prepare reports concerning the use of emergency, provisional and advance ballots.
Also included in the package are a number of bills to help ease the election and registration process, as well as help protect the rights of voters. One measure, S-2389, permits municipalities with fewer than 500 residents to be conducted by mail. Another measure sponsored by both Senator Bryant and Senator Fred H. Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester, S-2401, standardizes the recount filing deadline for elections. Previously the deadline is on or before the second Saturday following an election. This measure streamlines the process to make the deadline and even 15 days before the election. Senator Bryant also sponsored S-2394, which allows voters to declare party affiliation on their voter registration forms. Another measure that was signed today was S-2393, which increases criminal voting penalties like registering more than once, or tampering with a ballot box.