A coalition of labor unions, women and minority groups, and civil rights organizations are urging Gov. Chris Christie to a sign what they call a groundbreaking piece of legislation sitting on his desk. The Democratic-controlled state Legislature sent the “Democracy Act,” a sweeping overhaul of New Jersey’s voting laws, to the Republican governor last month — though Democratic leaders aren’t confident he’ll approve it. But the coalition of 35 groups sent a letter to Christie this week stressing that the measure would make it easier for more New Jersey residents to cast ballots and would bring the state’s “voting practices into the 21st century.”
“The right to vote is meant to be the great equalizer, but that equality only has meaning if we have equal access to the ballot box,” the coalition says in the letter, according to a copy obtained by NJ Advance Media. “Unfortunately, narrow windows for participation, outdated voting practices and New Jersey’s failure to take advantage of technology create unnecessary hurdles for far too many New Jerseyans and limit full participation in our democracy.”
If signed by Christie, the measure (A4613) would allow for more early voting options, online voter registration, and automatic registration at the Motor Vehicle Commission. It would also require pre-election materials to be printed in more languages.
And it would clear up New Jersey’s contradictory U.S. Senate succession laws and curtail the governor’s power in appointing temporary senators by requiring them to be from the same party as the person who vacated the seat.