As he roams far from New Jersey hugging voters in his quest for the White House, Gov. Chris Christie has a golden opportunity to demonstrate his faith in the people — yes, the people — by signing a groundbreaking voter registration bill passed last month by the state Legislature. It would make New Jersey a national leader by establishing automatic voter enrollment at the state Motor Vehicle Commission, encouraging early voting opportunities and expanding multilanguage election materials. The measure has everything to recommend it as a boon for democracy.
Yet Mr. Christie, once the champion of expansive bipartisan politicking, has attacked the new measure, called the “Democracy Act,” as a partisan move “to increase the opportunity for voter fraud.” He insisted, “There’s much more politics behind this than there is democracy,” and strongly hinted at a veto.
“Voter fraud” has become the standard canard used by Republican statehouses to push through regressive laws to hinder the voting rights of minorities. Various studies have shown voter fraud to be a myth. That Mr. Christie would raise this specious charge is an insult to his constituents. It’s also a sorry measure of his willingness to mouth right-wing Republican dogma in pandering on the campaign trail for his party’s presidential nomination.