TRENTON – Senator Jim Beach today issued a video press release on legislation he has introduced to allow voters across the state to receive their sample ballots by e-mail, rather than regular mail.
The Senator timed the release to coincide with the arrival this week of sample ballots for Tuesday’s school elections. He noted the move could save taxpayers millions of dollars annually in printing and postage costs.
Under current law, sample ballots must be printed and mailed to each eligible registered voter prior to the annual general, primary and school elections. Beach’s bill (S-1874) would allow registered voters to request that their sample ballots be e-mailed, instead.
The Secretary of State would work with election officials to develop procedures for informing voters of the opportunity to receive a sample ballot and other materials by e-mail, maintaining the confidentiality of voter e-mail addresses and allowing voters to switch back to receiving sample ballots by regular mail.
The bill is expected to be referenced to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.
A transcript follows:
All across New Jersey, voters are heading to their mailboxes and finding their sample ballots reminding them to vote in next week’s school elections.
Mailing sample ballots is a time-honored tradition to prepare voters for the choices facing them once they enter the voting booth. But it’s also an expensive tradition.
To reach each of New Jersey’s five-point-two million registered voters, all twenty-one county clerks are spending millions of tax dollars to print and mail sample ballots. They’ll do it again for the primary election in June. And again in November for the general election.
There has to be a better way.
I’ve introduced legislation … S-1845 … that would allow voters to get their sample ballots the same way many of them already get their utility bills, credit card and bank statements or even file their taxes … by e-mail.
Under a new law, New Jersey’s voter registration forms will soon have a space for residents to give election officials their e-mail addresses. Instead of mailing a printed sample ballot to these new voters, our county clerks could send it in an e-mail.
And the millions of voters who have received paper sample ballots for years should have the option to switch to e-mail, too.
It’s a system that can save millions of dollars.
Even as technology becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives, it’s amazing that some things are still stuck in the age of paper and ink – like our sample ballots.
There is no reason that something as basic as voter outreach cannot be transitioned to the Internet age.
I hope you’ll join me in supporting S-1845 and putting the information voters need just a mouse-click away.