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State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Senate approves early voting

By David Wildstein, February 22 2021 10:40 am

The New Jersey Senate today approved a bill that would establish early voting in New Jersey next year by a vote of 27-10.

The proposal would require counties to establish early voting centers, with the number dictated by a given county’s population, in the days preceding an election.

The bill would provide for three days of early voting for a non-presidential primary, beginning on the Friday before the election and ending the following Sunday. Early voting in presidential primaries would go for five days, instead starting on the Wednesday preceding an election.

General elections would have the longest early voting period, beginning 10 days before election day and ending the Sunday immediately preceding the opening of polls.

Early voting centers would be open on Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM and on Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.

The measure was introduced by State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) and co-sponsored by State Sens. Brian Stack (D-Union City), Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield) and Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch).

County election officials would be required to update the Statewide Voter Registration System (SVRS) at least once a day during early voting.

Gov. Phil Murphy has been an early proponent of early voting and has suggested a 30-day period.

Last month, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin told the New Jersey Globe that they were also prepared back the plan.

Sweeney has backed a bill that would allow 15 days of early voting since 2015, though none of those bills made it to a committee hearing.

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