A bill to allow residents to cast votes at polling places starting 15 days before Election Day is one step closer to reaching the governor’s desk. The Senate today voted 24-16 to pass the early voting bill (S2364), which would let voters cast their ballots early until the Sunday before the election. State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex) said she wants to encourage residents’ participation in democracy. “Early voting would ensure that even in an emergency, just as a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, or in case of unforeseen personal scheduling conflicts, residents will still be able to get to the polls and exercise their most fundamental right to vote.”
The polling places would be open seven days a week: From 10am to 8pm on Mondays through Saturdays, and from 10am to 6pm on Sundays.
Each of the state’s counties would have to set up at least three polling places. Counties with between 150,000 and 300,000 registered voters would have to have five polling places. Counties with more than 300,000 – Bergen, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean and Union — would be required to set up seven. The locations could be in courthouses, libraries, municipal and county clerk offices, but not schools.