Trenton – In an effort to increase voter participation in the 2020 election, and beyond, the Senate State Government, Wager, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee approved a series of bills today to increase voting accessibility and improve the vote-by-mail processes.
“Voting is the most fundamental right in our democracy. As elected officials we must advance the expansion of greater voter access,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “The problems in May and June highlighted the vulnerabilities within our voting system and underscored the need to improve the process. Establishing early voting will create a more accessible, secure, reliable voting and safe process that will ensure access and the integrity of the vote.”
“The sanctity of our elections is paramount to the continuation of our democracy. With the pandemic continuing to spread across the country, we are once again voting by mail for the upcoming elections,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “However, it is becoming clearer by the day that voters need alternative ways to deliver their ballots. This is why every county should have drop boxes where people can directly submit their ballots. And anyone who submitted a VBM ballot should receive confirmation that their vote was received and counted. This increased accessibility and assurance will encourage voters to partake in this civic duty.”
“We cannot allow the pandemic to determine this election,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “It’s our job as elected officials to make sure every New Jerseyan eligible to vote can do so easily, confidently and safely. This is the most important election of my lifetime and I am glad the Senate, with this legislation, is addressing the many challenges our current public health crisis presents and ensuring it does not hinder our ability to hold a fair election.”
“With the Governor’s announcement to send every voter a mail-in ballot this November, it is critical we proactively address the logistical challenges county clerks may face with such an influx of mail-in-ballots,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “Allowing clerks to begin processing ballots earlier will enable county boards of elections to begin counting promptly on Election Day and help to reduce delays in results.”
- S.99 – The bill, sponsored by Senator Nia Gill, would institute in-person early voting for November general elections.
- S.2580 – The bill, sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton, would require county boards of election to establish ballot drop boxes in each county at least 45 days before the election.
- S.2598/2699 – The bill, sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Gill, would prohibit county board of elections from rejecting any mail-in or provisional ballot with a missing signature or a signature mismatch unless the voter is provided the opportunity to address the signature discrepancy.
- S.2633 – The bill, sponsored by Senator Gopal and Senator Paul Sarlo, would require a public awareness campaign to promote voting by mail and increase awareness for how mail-in ballots work. In addition, the bill would extend the deadline for submitting mail-in ballots.
- S.2776 – The bill, sponsored by Senator Singleton and Senator Nellie Pou, would require county board of elections to mail notices to all mail-in votes after each election confirming their ballot was received and counted.
- S.2819 – The bill, sponsored by Senator James Beach and Senator Shirley Turner, permits counties to begin processing vote-by-mail ballots up to five days prior to election day.
- S.2820 – The bill, sponsored by Senator Beach and Senator Turner, allows registered voters to submit an application to vote by mail using the online voter registration website maintained by the Secretary of State up to seven days before election day.