PolitickerNJ Wire Feed

By Alise Roderer | December 6th, 2012 - 3:55pm
| More

 

WHELAN MEASURE TO EASE VOTING FOR DEPLOYED SERVICE MEMBERS, OVERSEAS RESIDENTS ADVANCES

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee Chairman Jim Whelan that would make it easier and more secure for New Jersey residents who are living abroad to vote was approved today by the Committee.

“This legislation incorporates into the law practical and common-sense measures that ensure the enfranchisement of the men and women who bravely protect our country overseas, their families and other Americans living abroad,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “Those New Jersey residents living around the globe should have the same assurances as those living within our borders that not only can they cast their vote in our elections, but that it will be counted. Our election system must protect all our registered voters and these reforms are a step towards guaranteeing that.”

The bill, S-2219, would revise the state’s Overseas Residents Absentee Voting Law to more closely resemble the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act). The changes would simplify the absentee voting process for United States military families and overseas civilians.

The bill would expand the definition of overseas voters to include legally recognized partners of military service personnel, including spouses, civil union and domestic partners, voters born outside of the US whose parents’ last US residency was New Jersey, and overseas voters with residences in New Jersey.

The bill would change the current overseas absentee voter law to allow voters to receive an electronic absentee ballot if they submit an absentee ballot application by 3 PM on the day prior to the election. Current law requires that eligible ballot applications to be received at least four days before the election. Additionally, the bill would permit the use of the federal postcard application, a nationally standardized form for overseas voters to vote, apply for an overseas ballot and to register to vote.

“New Jersey is already ahead of the game by allowing overseas voters to cast their ballots electronically, but we can do more to ensure that they have the greatest access possible to actively participate in our democratic process,” said Senator Whelan. “Our service members are living in remote parts of the world and may have limited or inconsistent access to mail and computers. By lengthening the time they can apply for an absentee ballot, we may be able to remove voting obstacles for New Jersey residents living abroad.”

The bill would allow overseas voters to use a valid US Passport, a Passport Card, a Certificate of Citizenship or any other valid form of identification recognized under federal or state law when applying for an absentee ballot.

The bill would also ensure that minor errors – such as omission or mistake that is not substantive in nature – on an election document would not invalidate the document.

According to a 2008 survey by the Overseas Voting Foundation, more than one in five overseas voters surveyed did not receive the ballot they requested. Senator Whelan noted that by eliminating rules that require entire applications to be thrown out based on minor, inconsequential errors, more residents living overseas will receive their ballots and will be able to vote.

In 2009, Congress passed the MOVE Act to provide enhanced protections for service members, their families and other overseas US citizens. The MOVE Act requires that states transmit ballots to overseas voters no less than 45 days prior to an election, when the absentee ballot request has been received by that date; allow overseas voters to receive their voting documents electronically; and do not reject ballots based on nonessential requirements such as a missing notary or inconsequential spelling mistake.

Senator Whelan notes that while New Jersey law already encompasses most of the changes in the MOVE Act, this bill incorporates the few concepts not already addressed.

The bill was approved by the Committee with a vote of 4-1. It now heads to the full Senate for approval.

 

Contact Info: 

Alise Roderer
NJ Senate Democratic Office
609-847-3700
ARoderer@njleg.org

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

Poll

Who is a better field general for his party as both try to win governor's races around the country?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources