Home>Highlight>DePhillips introduces bill allowing absentee ballots to be counted before Election Day

Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

DePhillips introduces bill allowing absentee ballots to be counted before Election Day

By Joey Fox, December 07 2021 9:35 am

Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff) introduced a bill yesterday that would permit county boards of elections to open and count absentee ballots prior to Election Day, in an attempt to forestall the kinds of delays that plagued the vote-counting process this year.

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“When vote tallies are changing drastically, or flipping in favor of one candidate over another, because of a delay in counting mail-in ballots, voters lose trust in the security and integrity of our elections,” DePhillips said in a statement. “This year’s gubernatorial and legislative elections really underscored the importance of correcting the process.”

DePhillips’ statement also referenced how some candidates, most of them Democrats, appeared to be behind on election night before late-counted absentee votes pushed them over the top in later days, which he said could fuel conspiracy theories. Bergen, Passaic, and Somerset Counties in particular witnessed multiple Democratic victories that were only apparent once all votes were counted.

While concerns of voter fraud and election integrity have tended to be concentrated among Republicans in recent years, DePhillips’ proposal may still find support among Democrats in the legislature. During last year’s presidential election, in anticipation of a massive surge in absentee voting due to the pandemic, the legislature temporarily allowed county election boards to begin counting absentee ballots 10 days before Election Day.

That legislation was spearheaded by Democrats and opposed by many Republicans; according to the New Jersey Monitor, one of the bill’s key sponsors, State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Delran), may introduce another similar bill soon.

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