An Assembly panel today advanced a Democrat-sponsored bill that would allow early voting in primary and general elections. The bill (A-3553) aims to give residents more voting alternatives following the Election Day woes created by Hurricane Sandy. “People are busy, and many have long work days or responsibilities that prevent them from hitting the polls on Election Day,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), one of the bill’s sponsors. “Then there are natural disasters that we simply can’t plan for. Sandy threw a wrench into the machinery of Election Day and created tremendous confusion. This is a matter of convenience and ensuring every resident who is registered and wants to vote will have the opportunity to do so.”
Articles about voting issues in New Jersey.
The New Jersey Democratic Party has paid more than $42,000 to settle allegations that it improperly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a series of controversial automated campaign calls meant to pull support from Chris Christie in his 2009 campaign against former Gov. Jon Corzine. The party had faced more than $200,000 in fines stemming from the six in-kind contributions, which totaled $227,120.64, most of which were used to pay for automated phone calls, known as robo calls, that supported third-party candidate Chris Daggett, who was seen as drawing votes away from Christie.
The last defendant in a voter fraud case that once threatened some of Essex County’s most prominent politicians was sentenced today to five years in state prison, the state Attorney General’s Office said. John Fernandez, 61, of Belleville, who worked for the Essex County Department of Economic Development, was ordered to forfeit his job and was permanently barred from public employment in the state, the office said in a news release.
New Jersey: Electronic voting after Sandy “A Complete Mess,” says senate president Sweeney | newjerseynewsroom.com
New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney said New Jersey’s county clerks were not properly prepared to handle the state’s requests for election ballots after Hurricane Sandy. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno allowed state residents affected by the storm to vote through e-mail or fax. Sweeney says county clerks told him they received thousands of requests for ballots in days leading up to the election. “There was no communication with local elections officials,” Sweeney told the Huffington Post. “It was a complete mess.” A spokesman for Guadagno said the decision was necessary because of the devastation of the storm.
New Jersey: Everyone Counts Secures 10-Year, Multimillion-Dollar Contract | San Diego Business Journal
Everyone Counts, a locally based provider of software as a service voting systems, recently received a 10-year contract from New Jersey to design the state’s voter registration system. The company’s eLect Registrator technology is based on its eLect Platform, which provides multiple layers of security, military-grade encryption of ballots and the ability to audit the system at any time, according to the company website.
The election boards in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties have certified their election results with the state. Many elections officials, however, expect they’ll be adjusting the totals for some time as provisional and federal overseas ballots continue to trickle into their offices. There aren’t enough outstanding late provisional ballots to alter the results of the Robert Menendez/Joe Kyrillos Senate race or the Barack Obama/Mitt Romney Presidential election. But for local races, such as school board and council elections, incoming ballots could make a difference. In Cumberland County, some of the unofficial election results—from polling places—were overturned by the addition of mail-in and provisional ballot counts. Meanwhile, Gloucester County and Morris County results remained unchanged.
New Jersey: Morris County closes out election after getting bombarded with mail, email, fax, provisional ballots | NJ.com
The votes are in. Finally. Morris County has certified its election, putting to rest most lingering doubts about who won what in an unconventional, post-Sandy election that saw a record number of mail-in votes and, for the first time, ballots sent by email and fax. The county had until Tuesday to certify the election, under an extension given by the state. Nearly 70 percent of Morris County’s registered voters took part in the election — with nearly 6 percent casting mail-in ballots (which includes the emailed and faxed ballots, as well as any cast early at county offices). Most of the rest showed up at the polls, even though several polling stations were moved as communities and utility companies scrambled to restore power after the superstorm. ”One way or another, it’s done,” said Tony DeSimone, IT administrator for the Morris County Board of Elections.
The Rutgers School of Law–Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic has served Open Public Records (OPRA) requests to New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno’s office and to all 21 New Jersey counties for information about the processing of ballots of voters displaced by Superstorm Sandy. The clinic seeks to determine whether any voters were disenfranchised on Election Day because of Internet voting and the confusion caused by emergency voting directives. Candidates are concerned as well. At least 75 elections still hinge on votes cast by displaced voters. In the wake of the storm, Lt. Gov. Guadagno issued a directive allowing displaced voters to vote by fax, email, and through the Internet. “Although emergency action was warranted, Internet and email voting was not the solution,” said Clinical Professor Penny Venetis, co-director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic. “New Jersey law does not permit Internet voting.”
Seeking to give residents more voting alternatives following the Election Day woes created by Superstorm Sandy, Assembly Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) will introduce a bill creating an early voting option for primary and general elections in New Jersey. “People are busy. Many have long work days or other responsibilities that prevent them from hitting the polls on Election Day. Then there are the natural disasters that we simply can’t plan for. Sandy threw a wrench into the machinery of Election Day and created tremendous confusion in some counties,” said Wisniewski. “This is a matter of convenience and ensuring that every resident who is registered and wants to vote will have the opportunity to do so. The right to vote and participate in the democratic process is one of our most sacred rights. We should give residents every chance to exercise it.”
A group of constitutional experts at Rutgers University want to know how fax and e-mail ballots were processed after Hurricane Sandy, and if any voters were disenfranchised as a result of widespread confusion. The Rutgers School of Law-Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic said today it has sent public records requests to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s office and all 21 counties for information on how the ballots were handled. The clinic claims 75 elections in New Jersey still hinge on votes cast by displaced voters.