Updates from Executive Order 144 in red.

Give voters and election workers more time

Unfortunately, voters lost out on this one. With the Primary moved to the Tuesday after a major holiday weekend, no one wants to work during July 4th weeekend. But voting should not be just on one day. It leaves many voters out, including our frontline workers who have to work a 24-hours shift, for an example. This is important legislation that we will continue to work on.

In order to process all the voters according to stringent COVID-19 compliant guidelines, more staffing and more time are needed to handle the volume. Only polling stations with adequate space will be able to meet the minimum physical distancing between voters and workers so some polling stations will not be operable during COVID-19. It also means that the time needed for voters to vote, and for election workers to safely process voters, requires more hours than what is available on Election Day.

  1. Currently, VBM has 45 days to vote early either by mail or at Ballot Drop Boxes
  2. Make In-person Extended Voting Days available 15 days before Election Day 
  3. Adopt online appointment features for better crowd control.
  4. Minimizes disparate impact across economic spectrum with transportation needs; ethnic and disability spectrum with language needs; and differently-abled communities with mobility needs.
  5. Allows for more time for voters to vote given the lower number of voters who can vote due to physical distancing

Recommended Legislation

In addition to all other forms of voting provided for by Title 19 of the Revised Statutes, a registered voter shall be permitted to vote at any specially designated polling place in that voter’s county of residence before the day of the election, starting on the 15th day before the election and ending at 3 PM on the calendar day before the election.  This procedure shall be known as “Extended Voting”.  Any municipality conducting regular municipal elections in May pursuant to the provisions of the “Uniform Nonpartisan Elections Law,” P.L.1981, c.379 (C.40:45-5 et seq.), shall also conduct extended voting for the regular municipal election, in accordance with the provisions of this act.  

(1) The voting shall be conducted using paper ballots.  The ballot used to conduct extended voting as provided in this act shall be “Official Mail-in Ballot” (19:63-11) and shall also be used to conduct the voting process for the election.  Pursuant to the provisions of this act and Title 19 of the Revised Statutes, each county board of elections shall allow any registered voter qualified to vote in the election, the ability to vote by paper ballot during the Extended Voting period.  

(2) A voter may vote during extended voting days by voting in-person with an Official Mail-in Ballot that he or she may bring in with them and deposit at a staffed ballot drop box. 

(3) If a voter does not provide an Official Mail-in Ballot for any reason, the board of elections or their designee must provide a Provisional Ballot to the voter (19:53C-1).  

(4) For all elections, each county board of elections shall designate three public locations within each county as the sites for extended voting to occur, except that the county board shall designate a total of five public locations for extended voting if the number of registered voters in the county is at least 150,000 but less than 300,000, and shall designate a total of seven public locations for extended voting if the number of registered voters in the county is 300,000 or more.  The number of registered voters in each county shall be determined ahead of the selection of extended voting sites pursuant to a uniform standard which shall be developed by the Secretary of State through the rulemaking process pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.). 

(5) Whenever possible, extended voting locations shall be geographically located so as to ensure both access in the part of the county that features the greatest concentration of population, according to the most recent federal decennial census of the United States, and access in various geographic areas of the county.  

(6) All extended voting locations shall be public facilities, such as county courthouses, public libraries and the offices of the municipal clerk, county clerk, and county board of elections.  No public school building and no building used as a public school shall, however, be designated as an extended voting location.

(7) The locations shall be designated at the same time as all other polling places are designated by the board of elections.  In the event of a tie vote among members of the county board with respect to the selection of sites for extended voting, the county clerk shall cast the deciding vote.  

(8) Once extended voting locations are designated in each county, county boards of election shall, as provided by the Secretary of State, evaluate and, if deemed necessary, revise these locations in order to accommodate significant changes in the number of registered voters within each county, reflect the population distribution and density within each county, or enhance convenience when an extended voting site has proven to be inconvenient for the voters, or because of similar circumstances.  The Secretary of State shall develop the criteria to be used by county boards of election to revise the location of extended voting sites and shall prescribe how often such revision shall take place.

https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/early-voting-in-state-elections.aspx