Governor Christie on Thursday vetoed a pair of bills that sponsors said would make it easier to register to vote — for years a Democratic mission that has been rejected by the Republican governor over and over again. But this time Christie’s rejection of one of those bills featured a denouncement that echoes pronouncements by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Christie’s personal friend. Rather than sign a bill that would automatically register voters as part of the driver’s license application and renewal process, Christie conditionally vetoed it and said it should be renamed “The Voter Fraud Enhancement and Permission Act.” He vetoed a similar measure last November, when it was included in a package of proposals dubbed the “Democracy Act.” At that time, Christie was running for president and wrote that the state “must ensure that every eligible citizen’s vote counts and is not stolen by fraud.” And in 2013, Christie vetoed a Democratic bill to expand early voting.
… Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, said Christie was “flat-out wrong” to veto the bill. “The legislation would improve voter participation and prevent any of the phantom abuses the governor claims could happen,” he said. “The bill has the same type of effective anti-fraud provisions that are currently included on voter registration forms. “Every American citizen has the right to vote, and automatic registration during license application or renewal will make it easier to exercise that right.”
Also Thursday, Christie issued an absolute veto of a bill that would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election if they turn 18 — the legal voting age — by the general election. That bill, Christie wrote, would “exploit” a law he signed last year allowing 17-year-olds to register to vote if they turn 18 by the next election. He also said the proposal could potentially be unconstitutional.