The State Senate approved a bill allowing County Committees to delay their swearings-in in a broadly bipartisan vote Thursday.
The measure cleared the Assembly in a near unanimous 74-1 vote with a single abstention in May and now heads to Murphy’s desk after clearing the upper chamber in a unanimous 38-0 vote.
The bill removes a requirement that members of county party committees be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the primary, instead requiring they take office by the third Saturday following the certification of election results.
The intent is to avoid putting local party officials in a sort of twilight state where they’re required to be sworn in with ballots still uncounted.
New laws enacted during the pandemic created days-long grace periods for late-arriving mail-in ballots and provided voters with additional days during which they can cure deficient vote-by-mail ballots.
The bill also changes the timeline for county committees to hold their annual meeting. Existing law requires that meeting be held the Tuesday following a primary, instead requiring it be scheduled by the third Saturday following certification of results in the same race.
A previous version of the bill required those meeting be held on a Saturday, though it was amended to give county parties leeway to avoid religious conflicts. The bill includes a provision that allows the party organizations to pick another date, though the meeting must be held on or before the third Tuesday after results are certified.
The measure, sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold), also creates a three-day grace period for municipal clerks to issue certificates of election after they receive vote tallies from county election officials.
It transfers the responsibility of certifying results to the county clerk.