The Assembly advanced a bill providing voting rights to persons on parole or probation Monday.
It passed 46-23.
Under current law, New Jersey strips voting rights from incarcerated persons and those on probation or parole.
The law, sponsored primarily by Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter, Cleopatra Tucker, Britnee Timberlake and Assemblyman Jamel Holley, would not reinstate give incarcerated persons the right to vote.
The measure would also provide criminal penalties for incarcerated persons who cast a ballot.
An identical bill introduced on Nov. 18 in the legislature’s upper chamber by State Sen. Ron Rice, who is chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, has not yet had a committee vote scheduled.
Gov. Phil Murphy is likely to support the measure if it gets to his desk. He’s previously called on lawmakers to pass a bill granting voting rights to people on parole and probation.
They, the bill says, would be guilty of a crime in the fourth degree, which carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and fines usually not running higher than $10,000.
The bill is partially aimed as a social justice measure meant to combat the disenfranchisement of the state’s black voters.
According to the prison Policy institute, Black people account for 54% of the state’s prison population.
The measure is aimed explicitly at restoring voting rights to some of those people.