A few years ago, New Jersey began allowing anyone who wanted to vote in elections using a mail-in absentee ballot to do so. It was a good idea that caught on with aging voters who have trouble getting out and with time-strapped voters who simply find it easier to vote at their leisure than to go to a polling place on Election Day.
Now, legislation passed by both the state Senate and Assembly will make it that much easier for people who vote by mail to ensure they continue to receive mail-in ballots, if Gov. Chris Christie signs it into law, as he should.
Bill S-2756, sponsored by state Sens. Jim Beach, D-Camden, and Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, calls for voters whove used mail-in ballots in prior elections to keep getting such ballots in the future unless they fail to vote in four consecutive elections. County clerks would send a notice to voters to determine if they still live at the same address. If voters dont respond to this notice at least 40 days before the next general election, they would no longer receive mail-in ballots unless they reapply.
On the application for mail-in ballots, voters have to check which elections they want mail-in ballots for — the November general election, February fire races, the April school elections, May municipal races and/or June primaries. If this bill becomes law, that would no longer be necessary, as mail-in ballots would keep coming to voters in perpetuity, so long as they verify their residence with the county clerk each year.