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Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City).

Bill expanding poll worker hours for minors clears Assembly

By Nikita Biryukov, June 25 2021 1:48 pm

The Assembly advanced a bill expanding the hours during which New Jersey’s minors can serve as poll workers Thursday.

The measure, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City) and cleared the chamber in an overwhelming 73-1 vote. Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) was the only member to vote against it.

The bill creates a carveout allowing minors between the ages of 16 and 18 to work from 5:30 a.m. to 9 PM on the day of an election.

The current state law, sponsored by then-Assemblyman Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) in 2002, allows 16 and 17-year-old to work eight-hours on Election Day, with the consent of a parent and a school official.

The bill’s movement comes after sustained shortages of poll workers amid the pandemic. Earlier this month, lawmakers passed a bill doubling pay for poll workers, to $400 for the day, at breakneck speeds in an effort to fill the staffing gap.

That bill only applied to 2021’s general elections.

“Becoming involved in the electoral process at a younger age would increase civic engagement and instill the importance of statewide and federal elections,” said Mukherji and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood), another sponsor. “It has been clear that more people are participating in elections and we want to continue to grow political interest in our younger generations.”

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