A Margate man was unable to vote in today’s non-partisan municipal election because he missed the registration deadline by three days.
New Jersey requires voters to register no less than 21 days before any election, setting the deadline for today’s contest to April 18., according to Steven Gleeson, a deputy attorney general. The man, Craig M., testified that he registered online on April 21.
“I saw the candidate signs up. I did not know of any kind of other deadline, though, or I would have just applied sooner,” Craig M. told Superior Court Judge Michael Blee in a short hearing this afternoon.
He registered to vote after moving to Margate roughly two years ago.
“ I live nowhere else. I have homes nowhere else,” Craig M. said. “(I) was really hoping to be involved in the community and by which voting being a part of that.”
But Blee said that the clarity of the statutory voter registration deadline ties his hands.
“I asked the deputy attorney general, is there any flexibility where the court could use some of its equitable powers to permit you to do that, and unfortunately, I don’t see any way around the deadline,” Blee said. “You now are registered, and you’re free to vote in all upcoming elections. And I appreciate your persistence and exercising your right to come before the court to have it reviewed.”
Craig M. praised the ease of the state’s online voter registration system.
“If we’re being honest, it was a very easy process. I mean, it was frictionless. That’s good,” he said. “I think within days of my online application, my voter card came through. I was quite impressed.”
Voters who believe they are being disenfranchised have the option of making a virtual appearance before a judge on Election Day.
Gov. Phil Murphy supports same-day voter registration, saying it is a priority for his second term, but bills to enact that policy, or reduce the registration period to eight days, have not moved through the legislature.
Editor’s note: the New Jersey Globe withholds the names of persons who appear before judges in a bid to vote to protect their privacy.