(TRENTON) – Registered voters would be able to cast their ballots in person at designated polling places for about two weeks before future general elections under legislation approved Monday by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee.
Under the bill (A-4830) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Andrew Zwicker (D- Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer, Hunterdon) Joseph Danielsen (D-Middlesex, Somerset) and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon), designated polling sites would be available for in-person voting 15 days before a general election up until the Sunday before the election. Polls would be open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Each county board of elections would designate three to seven early polling locations, depending on the number of registered voters in the county. The voting process during the early voting period would be conducted using electronic poll books certified by the Secretary of State and voting machines. Additionally, county boards would create and execute written plans for security of voting machines, ballots and records during the early voting period.
The bill would go into effect 120 days after enactment and now goes to the Speaker for further consideration.
The sponsors released the following joint statement on the bill:
“Voting must be easy, convenient and accessible, our democracy depends on participation of the people. However, the current system makes it difficult for the people to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Heading to the polls on Election Day may require voters to take off work on a weekday, find care for their children or demand hours of their time. It shouldn’t be this hard to cast a ballot.
“New Jersey must join the ranks of two dozen other states that allow in-person early voting, giving voters more opportunities to cast their ballots at their convenience. More people voting strengthens our democracy.”