NJ Early Voting Bills Head to Governor

NJ early voting lawsLegislation that would require early voting in most New Jersey elections now awaits Gov. Chris Christie’s consideration.

Under the proposal (S-2364), early voting in the general election and primary for the general election would begin on the 15th day before the election and ending on the second calendar day before the election.  A municipality holding municipal elections on the second Tuesday in May, by an ordinance adopted by its governing body, may also conduct early voting for those municipal elections.

The NJ early voting bill further provides that each county board of elections is to designate three early voting locations in each county, except that the county board must designate a total of five public locations for early voting if the number of registered voters in the county is at least 150,000 but less than 300,000, and must designate a total of seven public locations for early voting if the number of registered voters in the county is 300,000 or more. Designated polling places must be open for early voting on Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM, and on Sunday from 12 Noon to 6 PM.

According to the Department of State’s Division of Elections, first year costs of this bill, assuming the purchase of electronic poll books, would total $23 million. The cost would decrease to $2 million in subsequent years. To defray the costs of early voting to municipalities, the bill requires that the state make an appropriation to a fund that would provide reimbursement from any additional expenses.

Given the potential impact on New Jersey municipalities, we will continue to track the legislation and provide updates as they become available.

For more information about the proposed legislation and how it may impact your NJ municipality, we encourage you to contact a member of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s Public Law Group.

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