MADISON, NJ, August 27, 2019 – When New Jersey Globe reported on the Department of State’s ruling on the problematic gap in the VBM law, ATNJEF called for an emergency legislative fix in order to help New Jerseyans vote. Tens of thousands of registered VBM voters were at risk of being dropped out of Vote By Mail and would have needed to reapply.
In reading and re-reading the law, working with members of the State Legislature and the Division of Elections, and analyzing the voter registration data, we concluded that the Legislature needed to act quickly to provide legislative clarity for the Board of Elections and the County Clerks to implement the law. There was, indeed, an omission in the law that neglected to provide direction on what to do and how to classify the voters who applied for VBM in 2017 and 2018. The Senate bill that was just passed, S4069, provided the fix and stated its intention that all voters who applied to Vote By Mail intend to vote by mail unless they request otherwise.
In fulfilling the wish of the voters while still providing a mechanism to revert back to voting by machine should the voters change their mind, Senate President Steve Sweeney, the sponsor of the bill, and the members of the State Senate acted swiftly in the dog days of summer to make this right for all VBM voters. We appreciate the quick passage of this bill. This is responsive representation that voters need. We are looking forward to the same result in the State Assembly on the companion bill, possibly today. Timing is critical as ballots start mailing out on September 21 and we ask Governor Murphy to sign this into law when it reaches his desk.
About ATNJ Education Fund
ATNJ Education Fund (ATNJEF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization based in New Jersey, established to educate the general public about the policies that affect our everyday lives from the state Capital to our nation’s capital. ATNJEF envisions a state of citizens who are informed and engaged in democracy; where the power lies with working class people; and where elected officials form policies that create and maintain a just, fair, and inclusive community.