Home>Campaigns>Most New Jerseyans want in-person early voting, poll says

Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague votes by machine in the 1930s. (Photo: David Wildstein Collection.)

Most New Jerseyans want in-person early voting, poll says

Project Ready poll shows lukewarm support for all-VBM elections

By David Wildstein, December 07 2020 9:04 am

Nearly 80% of New Jerseyans support in-person early voting, and 59% believe reforms to the voting process will make it easier to vote in future elections, according to a new Change Research poll commissioned by Project Ready, a Newark-based non-profit.

But automatic mailing of a ballot to every voter in every election only has the support of 48% of New Jersey, and the implementation of same-day voter registration is favored by 52% of the state.

While 87% of Democrats want to a vote-by-mail ballot for every election, that number drops to just 7% among Republicans and 39% among independent unaffiliated voters.

Despite lower than average voter turnout in communities of color in 2020, 72% of Blacks want their ballot in the mail, compared to 47% of Hispanics and 44% of Whites, the poll says.

The poll showed that 59% of voters believe a series of election reforms would simplify New Jersey elections.   Just 25% of New Jersey believe that election reforms will contribute to increased voter fraud.

Increased locations and times for in-person early voting gets support from 93% of Democrats, 77% from independents, and 60% from Republicans.  It also has the backing of 82% of Black voters, 77% of White voters, and 75% of Hispanic voters.

Increased pay for Election Day workers gets support from 69% of New Jerseyans, including 87% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans, and 62% of independents.  Higher poll worker pay gets the approval of 90% of Blacks, 68% of Whites, and 59% of Hispanics.

Nearly two-thirds (66%) of New Jersey would support requiring employers to give paid time off to vote, and 60% want employers to pay them so they can serve as poll workers.

A large segment of New Jersey’s communities of color have experienced a tougher time casting their ballots than white voters,

In their lifetime, 49% of Hispanic voters and 41% of Black voters acknowledged at least one challenge to voting in their lifetime, while the number of White voters experiences some voting issues was 22%.  But while just 20% of white men are likely to report those issues, 52% of non-white men said they would report voting problems.

A majority of New Jerseyans – 56% — gave state election officials high marks for processing a record-setting number of votes during a general election conducted primarily through vote-by-mail ballots.  One-third said the state did poorly.

Approval for election officials was at 96% among Democrats, but 86% of Republicans viewed them negatively.

“If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that we’ve seen first-hand how making voting easier has led to record participation in our democracy,” said Shennell McCloud, executive director of the Newark-based Project Ready. “This is an issue of equity because we know that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by obstacles to voting. New Jerseyans strongly support policy reforms to make voting more accessible, and our leaders should make permanent and build upon the progress we’ve made.”

The online poll of 958 people in New Jersey was conducted between November 21-24 using Dynamic Online Sampling and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

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