Home>Campaigns>A new state resident can’t vote this year because motor vehicles couldn’t give him an appointment on time

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Alan G. Lesnewich. (New Jersey Globe File Photo).

A new state resident can’t vote this year because motor vehicles couldn’t give him an appointment on time

Judge said he wanted to let Union County man vote, but law was clear

By David Wildstein, November 07 2022 5:09 pm

A Union County man who moved from New York to New Jersey with his pregnant wife in September will be disenfranchised from voting in tomorrow’s election because the Motor Vehicle Commission couldn’t give him an appointment until after the voter registration deadline.

The individual, Eric W., told Superior Court Judge Alan Lesnewich on Sunday that he sought to change his address and voter registration to his new Union County, but the MVC could not give him an appointment until two days after the October 18 voter registration deadline.

“We reached out September 18th and then the first appointment we could get I believe was October 20th,” he told the judge.  “Upon the appointment at the DMV, that’s when I click the button to register to vote.”

Deputy Attorney General Amanda Barba, representing the state, opposed the man’s bid to vote because the deadline had passed.

“Pursuant to statute, he’s not able to vote in this election,” she said.

But there was no mention of any good faith efforts by Eric M. to register to vote; he could have argued that he was in a virtual line to register a month before the deadline, but the government kept him wating, not dissimilar to a voter arriving at the polls just seconds before 8 PM and being permitted to vote no matter how long the line was.   Eric M. had no one to advocate for him against a deputy attorney general, and there no mention of an option to vote by provisional ballot while he appeals the judge’s decision.

The MVC website does not notify voters of registration deadlines.

In ruling that Eric W. could not vote, Lesnewich said that his hands were tied.

“Unfortunately, the statute that was identified by the deputy attorney general controls and I don’t have any discretion.  The law is what it is,” Lesnewich said.  “If it were up to me and I could wave a magic wand and ignore the statute, I would do that.”

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