The times have changed, but a key part of the state’s election law is still stuck in the past, according to a coalition of students and advocacy groups that filed a challenge to New Jersey’s voter-registration law today.
Instead of requiring 21 days to process a voter registration, the state should get with the times and allow people to sign up on Election Day, the plaintiffs argued. Thousands of residents are locked out of the voting booth every year because they don’t file their paperwork on time, they said, and the law is especially cumbersome for highly mobile people like college students.
“People who are moving have a lot of other things on their mind,” said Frank Askin, director of the Rutgers Law School Constitutional Litigation Clinic, who is lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “There are nine states that have Election Day registration. Those states have the highest voter turnout in the country.”
In Minnesota, for example, nearly 78 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the 2008 presidential election — the highest rate in the nation. New Jersey came in 19th that year, Askin said. On average, states that allow same-day registration get 8 percent more turnout, he added.