Vitale Bill Clarifies Absentee Ballot Voting Rules

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale, which would clarify the deadline to request an absentee ballot must be post marked at least seven days before the election, was unanimously approved by the full Senate today.

“Voting by mail is wildly popular because it’s so convenient,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Absentee voting guarantees our citizens the chance to sit down and mark their ballot when they have time. There’s no standing in line, no searching for parking, no rushing home to get to the polls before they close on Election Day. The number of residents who choose to vote absentee has grown, and I want to ensure that every voter who wishes to vote by mail has that opportunity.”

The bill, S-1108, would clarify the deadline to request an absentee ballot. The request would have to be received with a postmarked date of no less than seven days prior to the election.

According to Senator Vitale, “In the last session, the legislature enacted a bill that enables to anyone who wishes to vote by absentee ballot to continue receiving the ballots automatically until he or she asks to no longer have them sent.”

“In the 2005 general election, some county clerks interpreted the absentee ballot rules to say that the request had to be received in the office by seven days before the election, while others only required the ballot request be postmarked by that date,” said Senator Vitale. “This measure will create a unified ruling on absentee ballot deadlines by removing the county clerk’s discretion.”

The measure now heads to the Assembly for consideration.