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NEW JERSEY

CANDIDATES

JANUARY 2020

 

• New Jersey: New Jersey's Democratic-run state Assembly has passed two bills to improve voting access, sending them to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy for his expected signature.

One bill would finally establish an online voter registration system, something only a few other states currently lack. The second measure would fix problems with New Jersey's system for permanent absentee mail voting by allocating funding needed for local governments to handle the higher volume of mail ballots. The system would automatically mail an absentee ballot in all future elections, unless the voter opts out, to any voter who cast an absentee ballot in recent election years.

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New Jersey: Democrats have passed a bill out of a committee in the Assembly that would end "prison gerrymandering" by counting incarcerated people for redistricting purposes at their last address instead of where they are imprisoned (and can't vote). State Senate Democrats approved this proposal last year, and if the full Assembly follows suit, the bill would go to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who is expected to sign it if it reaches his desk. If the measure becomes law, it could remove outsized representation from whiter communities with prisons and shift it toward urban communities of color.

Meanwhile, Democrats have approved a bill in a Senate committee to fix the problems with the state's permanent vote-by-mail system. Democrats had previously passed a law that would permanently send mail ballots for all future elections to any voter who cast an absentee mail ballot in recent election years unless they opted out.

However, the state's Council on Local Mandates blocked the law shortly after Election Day last year on the grounds that it did not provide funding to local governments to implement the measure. The new bill would remedy that problem by appropriating the necessary funds.