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|Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:08 pm Post subject: PRESS RELEASE - Quigley, Conners, Prieto Measure to Bring Ov || |
|PRESS RELEASE - Quigley, Conners, Prieto Measure to Bring Overseas Voting into 21st Century Advances
ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS NEWS RELEASE
February 28, 2008
QUIGLEY/CONNERS/PRIETO MEASURE TO BRING OVERSEAS VOTING INTO 21ST CENTURY ADVANCES
Measure Would Ease Restrictions, Update Ballot Transmission Methods For NJ Residents Stationed or Living Abroad
(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel today released legislation
Assembly members Joan M. Quigley, Jack Conners, and Vincent Prieto
sponsored to ease archaic voting restrictions on New Jerseyans living or
stationed overseas by allowing them to submit their ballots through 21st
Century communications means.
"The act of voting should not be a daunting or impossible
task simply because a person is an ocean away from home," said Quigley
(D-Hudson), chairwoman of the Assembly State Government Committee.
"It's past time that we streamlined the process to account for the
near-global connectivity afforded us by the advent of the Internet and
Under current law, a New Jersey resident living or stationed
overseas during a primary, special, or general state or federal election
can only request a ballot via airmail or fax.
The bill (A-2204) would expand the acceptable means of
submitting a completed voter registration form, ballot application, or
ballot to include e-mail.
The sponsors said the limitation in the law, which was last
updated in 1993, was brought to their attention during a January 28
Assembly State Government hearing on the state's no-excuse absentee
According to testimony given by Bob Giles, the supervisor
for elections for Ocean County, a New Jersey soldier stationed in
Afghanistan who had no access to a fax machine or mail during the course
of his duty was able to request the Ocean County Clerk scan and e-mail
him a blank ballot. The soldier then downloaded the ballot, filled it
out, scanned the completed ballot and e-mailed it to a company that
turns e-mails into faxes. That company then faxed the soldier's ballot
back to the county clerk, who recorded the faxed ballot.
"It is ridiculous that a soldier registered to vote in New
Jersey had to jump through that many hoops just to exercise his right to
vote," said Conners (D-Camden), a former Army National Guardsman and
Army Reservist. "Our election laws must be reflective of the times so
that the act of voting, even for someone overseas or at war, is as
simple as possible."
In order to ensure the validity of electronically submitted
votes, individuals voting via e-mail or other electronic means would
still be required to complete a paper copy of the ballot that would be
sent to the appropriate county board of elections.
"While we have an obligation to make sure everyone has the
opportunity to vote, we also have an obligation to ensure the voting
process is free from fraud," said Prieto (D-Hudson). "Requiring a paper
trail will help ensure ballots cast electronically are valid and
The Assembly State Government Committee unanimously released
the measure. It now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and
when to post it for a floor vote.
James Sverapa IV
Assembly Majority Office