Just one week after it was introduced, a slightly pared down bill to overhaul New Jersey’s voting system began its legislative journey Monday. The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 6-3 to approve the “Democracy Act” along party lines, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it. “We cannot afford to let our democracy sit with diminishing participation at the polls and do nothing about it, because democracy suffers,” said Deborah Cornavaca, legislative director for New Jersey Working Families, a progressive group that has been pushing the measure.
Citing low turnout figures in recent years, Democrats have made the measure a priority and want to have it on Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s desk by the end of the month. Supporters expect them to seek to put it on the ballot as a constitutional amendment in 2016 if Christie does as expected and vetoes it.
The committee struck a provision that would have allowed New Jersey residents to register to vote at the polls on Election Day and then cast a provisional ballot.