Thursday, June 18, 2015

N.J. Democratic Legislative Leaders Unveil ‘Democracy Act’ to Overhaul New Jersey’s Outdated Voting Laws

Here's a recent proposal on voting in NJ out of the NJ Assembly. It suggests there's more to be done on aiding voting in the state.

There doesn't seem to be any mention of curbing voter fraud, the abuse of Vote-by-Mail, non-residents of NJ or non-citizens voting.

In fact, this is such an open voting system as proposed, one has to wonder if you can't register and vote from your living room - in Bucharest as a fine citizen of say Romania.

The national trend  among some appears to encourage voting by anyone and everyone. Allowing illegal voting however nullifies the value of your vote.

Voter fraud is certainly outdated but there's no measure proposed whatsoever to stop it.

We know a little about voter fraud here in Hoboken. Some call it a tradition.

N.J. Democratic Legislative Leaders Unveil ‘Democracy Act’ to Overhaul New Jersey’s Outdated Voting Laws

Measure Calls for Early Voting, Online & Automatic Voter Registration, Same Day Registration, Increased Accessibility & Protections & End of Wasteful Special Elections 

(TRENTON) – Democratic legislative leadership on Monday announced sweeping overhauls of New Jersey’s outdated voting rights laws – including plans to allow early voting, online and automatic voter registration, same-day registration, increased accessibility and protections and an end to wasteful special elections.
The leaders said they would introduce ‘The Democracy Act’ on Monday, with the plan being to get it to the governor’s desk by month’s end.
           “The Democracy Act will modernize and improve state election laws to make voting easier and more accessible for the people of New Jersey,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester). “Elections are the foundation of democracy and anything we can do to increase voter participation will make government more effective and more responsive to the needs of everyone.  Elections have consequences so we want every eligible voter to have a fair opportunity to participate in the electoral process.”  
“New Jersey's election laws date back to the early 1900s, which has led to confusion, litigation, wasteful special elections and a process that quite simply has not kept up with modern technology,” said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). “Superstorm Sandy demonstrated how ill-prepared our election system is for emergencies and how ill-equipped we are for any modern voting. We must do better if we’re going to truly protect voting rights for New Jerseyans from every community across our state.”
The leaders noted New Jersey is 39th in the United States in the percentage of eligible voters who are registered at 64.3 percent, compared to 82.8 percent for the top state. And, New Jersey is 39th in the country on average voter turnout at 54.5 percent, compared to the top state at 73.3 percent.
"New Jersey is lagging behind other states when it comes to voter rights, and the level of participation in the election process in this state has been shamefully low. It’s well past time to modernize our election laws, and that means improving and updating our registration processes with online and universal access and allowing for early voting,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). "These and the other important reforms we are proposing will bring our laws into the 21st Century and create greater access to the democratic processThese changes will only serve to make our election system stronger.”
“It’s sobering to consider that our current voting laws originated from a rural, farm-dwelling society,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “Times have changed, but New Jersey remains stuck in a voting quagmire, with outdated laws and procedures that deter people from voting. New Jersey is in desperate need of this ‘Democracy Act’ that would modernize our election laws. The facts show the status quo is neither working nor acceptable. We need real reform and we need it now.”
Among the organizations participating in the effort are the: New Jersey Working Families Alliance, ACLU, Latino Action Network and the League of Women Voters.  
“The right to vote is the great equalizer, but that equality only becomes real when we all have equal access to the ballot box,” said Analilia Mejia, the executive director of the Working Families Alliance. “We commend the leaders in the legislature for advancing policies that will help ensure New Jersey's democracy is by and for the people, and we will work together with legislators to mobilize grassroots support for these common sense proposals and ensure that they become the law."
The bill establishes “The Democracy Act” to revise various voter registration and voting procedures.  Specifically, the bill establishes early voting, online voter registration, voting day registration and allows for the pre-registration of 17-year-olds.