Home>Highlight>Committee approves pair of bills requiring prepaid postage for mail-in ballots, applications

Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer at Gov. Phil Murphy's fiscal year 2023 budget address. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Committee approves pair of bills requiring prepaid postage for mail-in ballots, applications

Legislation unanimously clears Assembly State and Local Government Committee

By Joey Fox, January 19 2023 3:41 pm

Voting is free in New Jersey, but if you cast your ballot by mail, you may end up paying $1.20 per vote anyways – the cost of one stamp for your absentee ballot application and another for the ballot itself.

Two bills approved by an Assembly committee today, however, could change that. On unanimous votes, the Assembly State and Local Government Committee approved legislation to require prepaid postage on both absentee ballot envelopes and ballot applications.

That’s already the case in many New Jersey counties, most notably Camden County, a Democratic stronghold that has the highest rate of mail voting in the state. But the bills approved today would standardize free mail voting for every New Jersey voter.

Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D-Montgomery), who was a sponsor or co-sponsor on both bills, said before the votes that eliminating the barrier of paying for stamps was a step towards a healthier democracy.

“People should not be required to pay in order to vote,” Jaffer said. “This bill is an opportunity to further enfranchise New Jersey voters and make for a more representative government.”

The bipartisan nature of today’s votes – two Republicans supported both bills – probably bodes well for the legislation’s future, but this is only the beginning of the process; the bills have yet to come up for a hearing in Senate committee.

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