The state Assembly on Thursday plans to to challenge Gov. Chris Christie’s recent veto of a bill that would automatically register people to vote when they obtain or renew their driver’s license – a measure the governor claims would invite fraud. None of Christie’s vetoes has been overidden by the Democratically-controlled Legislature. Neither the Senate or Assembly holds a veto-proof majority. The legislature came close last October when three Republicans in the Senate voted with the 24 Democrats to challenge a bill that would have included police in the judicial process of deciding whether a person with a documented mental illness can get a gun permit. But the override failed in the Assembly. This Assembly may have enough votes this time. There were 54 “yes” votes in the Assembly when it passed in June – the veto-proof majority necessary in the 80-seat house. “We had 54 votes last time, and the governor’s veto offers no valid reason for anyone to change their votes,” said Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), a prime sponsor of the bill.
“This bill should have become law. It’s that simple,” Coughlin added. “This is a reasonable bill modeled after successful programs in other states that would increase voter registration in a safe and secure manner. That can only be a good and healthy thing for our democracy.”
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), declined to say what, if anything, was happening behind the scenes to line up necessary votes.
“Oregon, California, Vermont and West Virginia have similar laws, so this is not some radical idea,” Prieto said, calling the bill “a common sense approach that would surely increase voter registration, which we all should agree is a great thing for our democracy.”