Building off a 2020 bill he sponsored that allowed county boards of elections to count absentee ballots prior to Election Day, State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Delran) introduced legislation yesterday that would permanently allow the early counting of mail and early in-person ballots.
Specifically, the bill would permit county election boards to count early votes 24 hours after the early voting period ends, and begin counting absentee ballots 10 days before Election Day.
Singleton said in a statement that the legislation was designed to prevent problems like the ones seen in this year’s general election, when slow counting led to fluctuating results on election night and in the days afterwards.
“This year’s election results were significantly delayed due to the counting of [absentee and early] ballots,” Singleton said. “By allowing county boards of elections to begin processing early votes and VBMs before Election Day, we hope to restore timeliness and confidence in the process, while maintaining and upholding election integrity.”
Singleton isn’t alone in pushing for more efficient vote counting; also yesterday, Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff) introduced similar legislation, though his bill only applies to mail-in votes. According to Singleton’s office, there is currently no plan to harmonize the two bills, in part because of this discrepancy.