Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed several bills into law that seek to improve New Jersey’s election process. The measures establish an online voter registration center, require district boundaries and corresponding election results to be posted online, and mandate that incarcerated individuals be counted at their last known street address for legislative redistricting purposes.
Below is a brief summary of New Jersey’s new election laws:
Senate Bill 589: Senate Bill 589 requires the Secretary of State to maintain a secure Internet website to allow eligible voters to register to vote using an online voter registration form. It also authorizes the use of digitized signatures from New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s database, or the applicant’s digitized or electronic signature, in connection with online voter registration forms. The new law requires the State to procure a qualified vendor to establish the online voter registration system ahead of the 2020 general election in November.
Senate Bill 758: Senate Bill 758 provides that individuals who are incarcerated in the State must be counted at the individual’s last known complete street address — rather than where they are incarcerated — for legislative redistricting purposes. Notably, the new law only applies to the process of redrawing maps for the state legislature and not Congressional redistricting.
Assembly Bill 4564: Assembly Bill 4564, known as the “Voting Precinct Transparency Act,” requires each districting authority (county board of elections for election districts, district commissioners for county districts, and ward commissioners for municipal wards) to file its election district, county district, and municipal ward boundary data, as appropriate with the Secretary of State. The law also requires these files to be in ESRI Shapefile format, a format widely used with geographic information systems (GIS) software, upon implementation of a compatible Statewide Voter Registration System. Assembly Bill 4564 also requires the county clerk of each county, within 90 days following the certification of the results of any election, or public question voted on by the voters, to post a table or database containing the election results compiled at the election districts level on their website. To facilitate implementation of the new requirements, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the New Jersey Office of Information Technology, Office of Geographic Information Systems, must issue technical guidelines governing the preparation, maintenance, and submission of boundary files and election results files.
For more information about the new laws or the legal issues involved, we encourage you to contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Public Law Group.