Home>Highlight>Republican constitutional amendment would block automatic VBMs for all voters

State Sen. Robert W. Singer. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Republican constitutional amendment would block automatic VBMs for all voters

By Nikita Biryukov, November 11 2020 12:32 pm

Six Republican lawmakers are backing a constitutional amendment that would block future governors from requiring mail-in ballots to be sent to every active registered voter in the state.

The measure, sponsored by State Sen. Bob Singer (R-Lakewood) and Assemblyman Sean Kean (R-Wall), seeks to prevent the sort of mostly mail election Gov. Phil Murphy ordered this year. If it’s approved, New Jersey voters would still be able to request mail-in ballots, but the state would be barred from sending them automatically to all voters.

Politico New Jersey first reported the amendment’s existence.

It’s not immediately clear how the amendment would interact with a state law requiring voters who request a mail-in ballot to be sent one in future elections in perpetuity.

The amendment would also require in-person voting be an option on election day, though its not clear it would change the status quo, as it makes no reference to machine voting.

Under an executive order Murphy issued earlier this year that the legislature later codified, voters were able to cast provisional ballots on election day or hand-deliver their vote-by-mail ballot to their polling place.

The amendment is unlikely to win majority support in both chambers. It’d need to do so two years in a row before going to voters for approval. It could get on the ballot sooner if it secured a 60% supermajority in both chambers in a single year, but that’s even less likely.

State Sens. Kip Bateman (R-Neshanic Station) and James Holzapfel (R-Toms River) and Assemblymen Ned Thomson (R-Wall) and Ronald Dancer (R-Plumsted) are co-sponsoring the amendment.

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