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Woman who said voter registration was lost in mail gets to vote

Judge orders Hunterdon woman to be placed on voter rolls

By David Wildstein, November 03 2022 7:15 pm

A Hunterdon County woman who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2021 will be permitted to cast her first vote in next week’s general election even though her voter registration form was never received by the county Board of Elections.

Karen L. testified that she had mailed a voter registration form last year and questioned her status when two family members received sample ballots and she had not.

“It must gave got lost in the mail or something,” she told Superior Court Judge William G. Mennen IV during a short hearing on Thursday evening.

That was her second bid to vote.  She told Mennen that she had been told at her April 2021 citizenship ceremony that her registration was automatic, but learned that was not the case and was unable to vote in last year’s election.

Beth Thompson, the director of the Hunterdon County Board of Elections, testified that she had no record of the registration.

“We did not get it.  We get thousands and thousands of pieces of mail,” Thompson stated.

But the veteran election official says he had seen inclidents of voter registrations being lost in the mail before.

Karen L. said she was “200%” certain she mailed it.

“I wouldn’t mess around,” she said.   “I want to make sure I really count this time.”

Mennen said he found her testimony to be credible.

“She is to be lauded for her efforts,” the judge stated.

Karen L. is the latest example of a citizen advocating for her own right to vote, asking that he plight come before a judge in advance of the polls closing at 8 PM on November 8.

“The laws really are designed to let voters vote, but your responsibility is to advocate for yourself,” said Micah Rasmusen, the director of the Rebovich Institute of New Jersey Politics at Rider University.  “If you’re a registered voter, do not leave the polling location without either casting a provisional ballot or getting clear direction on how to go before a judge.”

Deputy Attorney General George N. Cohen did not oppose a bid by Karen L. to be added to the voter rolls after the October 18 deadline.  That could be interpreted as a new missive from Attorney General Matt Platkin and the Murphy administration prevent the disenfranchisement of voters.

Platkin, a staunch voting rights advocate, last week directed the attorney general’s office to aggressively safeguard New Jersey voters.

Murphy supports same-day voter registration.

Editor’s note: to protect their privacy, the New Jersey Globe is withholding the last names of voters who appear before a judge due to problems voting, unless they consent.

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