An Assembly panel advanced a bill that would mandate the creation of a portal allowing voters to confidentially check whether their mail-in, provisional and overseas ballots were counted.
“One of the foundations of our democracy is the right to vote,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick). “This year, most of us will choose to vote-by-mail because of safety concerns due to COVID-19. It is critical that each person knows that when their ballot is cast their vote is recorded. The purpose of this bill is to make voting more accessible and minimize the likelihood of disenfranchisement. We must make sure that every vote counts.”
The Assembly State and Local Government Committee cleared the measure in a 4-2 vote along party lines.
The bill also requires elections officials notify voters within 24 hours of their ballot being rejected and provides a 14-day period during which ballots can be cured.
“Every eligible voter has the right to participate in our electoral process,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Hamilton). “Doing our due diligence, as this bill does, to ensure voters mailing their ballot can track their vote and can rectify an issue that would invalidate their ballot is absolutely necessary for fair representation.”
Finally, the bill stipulates that mail-in ballots cannot be rejected because of physical defects that are not the fault of the voter.
“In New Jersey we need to establish a modern voting system for the upcoming November election, and beyond, that will largely utilize vote-by-mail,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Moorestown). “This starts with better support and procedures for vote-by-mail, so that all voters and particularly the disabled, elderly and language-minority voters are able to safely and confidently vote from home.”