A group of state lawmakers wants to re-enforce an old requirement that voting machines in New Jersey produce a paper trail. A bill introduced in the state Assembly would require new voting machines purchased or leased after its passage to produce a paper record of each vote cast. A law passed more than a decade ago requiring hard copies of vote tallies was later suspended for lack of funding. The bill’s sponsors said in a statement that electronic machines that produce a paper record are now more widely commercially available.
Articles about voting issues in New Jersey.
Four Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly have introduced a bill that would require voting machines to leave a paper trail of each vote cast. Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker says previous equipment failures and programming errors have resulted in costly disputes that cast doubt on election results. Zwicker says paper records would assure voters that their ballots are counted properly “We want to give people confidence that when they vote, their vote counts and that it went toward the person they were intending to vote for,” Zwicker says.
New Jersey: Democrats want to push future presidents to do what Trump wouldn’t: Release tax returns | Philadelphia Inquirer
If President Trump, or anyone else, wants to get on the New Jersey ballot to run for president in 2020, he could have to release his tax returns, if some Democratic lawmakers have their way. Whether legislators have that power was an open question Monday, as the Assembly Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would require candidates for president and vice president to disclose their federal income tax returns in order to appear on the state’s ballot. “Anybody who tells you they know whether it’s constitutional or not is not correct,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine, said of a state’s ability to require tax-return disclosure to get on the ballot. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman John McKeon (D., Morris), acknowledged that the proposal raised constitutional questions, but argued that such laws would likely be upheld “prior to the election four years from now.”
When New Jersey voters go to the polls Tuesday, they’ll cast their votes on 20-year-old voting machines with no verifiable paper trail. Some voting rights advocates tell Kane In Your Corner that’s a combination that could leave the state powerless to conduct an effective audit if something goes wrong. “I think what’s really important is to prove not only to the winners that they won, but to the losers that they lost,” says Pamela Smith, president of the nonprofit group Verified Voting. The group favors optically scanned paper ballots, now used in several states, including New York. The ballots can be scanned by machines, but hand-inspected if questions arise. … New Jersey election director Robert Giles, however, insists the state’s current voting machines, primarily comprised of AVC Advantage machines introduced in 1996, have proven to be reliable. “To this date, there’s been no evidence of the machines malfunctioning to the extent that there’s been an election questioned,” Giles says. Smith questions how the state can be so certain. Without paper copies to audit, she says “you can run the numbers again, but there’s no way to be sure the equipment is working correctly.”
New Jersey: Judge in Trump voter intimidation suit wants to know if campaign coordinated with GOP | NJ.com
A U.S. District Court judge has ordered the Republican National Committee and Donald Trump’s campaign to provide any written agreements concerning “voter fraud, ballot security, ballot integrity, poll watching, or poll monitoring,” or affidavits of people involved if there are oral agreements. The RNC is under a court-sanctioned agreement to avoid taking any steps that could be seen as intimidating minority voters, and a Democratic National Committee lawsuit said the prohibition also should apply to the Trump campaign since it is working with the party. Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark also asked for more details about statements made by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, at a Denver town hall meeting in August when he said “the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are working very very closely” with states to “ensure ballot integrity.”
State election officials said Tuesday they have seen no evidence of voter fraud and are not concerned the system is compromised despite unsubstantiated claims by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that balloting in the U.S. is rigged. “I am a Republican, and I have 1,000 percent faith in the New Jersey election system,” Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi said. Phyllis Pearl, the Camden County superintendent of elections for nearly 15 years, said she has “never had problems with voter fraud. As an election official, I take it personally. I’m here to maintain integrity of elections for voters and for all candidates regardless of party,” said Pearl, who was appointed by former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. The Associated Press reached out to officials in all 21 New Jersey counties. Ten officials responded and said they had seen no evidence of fraud.
A millennial member of the state Legislature wants to make sure it’s legal for New Jerseyans to snap a photo of their ballot in the voting booth — possibly with their face in the frame — and then post it on social media. State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji has introduced a bill (A4188) that would legalize so-called “ballot selfies.” “It’s not perfectly clear that the current statute would be interpreted to prohibit this,” the 32-year-old Mukherji (D-Hudson) told Politico New Jersey.
New Jersey: Democrats postpone attempt to override Christie veto on voter registration bill | NJ.com
State Assembly Democrats have postponed a planned attempt Thursday to override Gov. Chris Christie’s recent veto of a bill that would automatically register people to vote when they receive or renew their driver’s license. Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), the main sponsor of the measure, said Democrats called off the vote because of “several absences in our caucus today. Given the general decline in voter participation, this bill is too important to leave to fate,” Coughlin said in a statement shortly before Thursday’s Assembly session was set to begin. “We look forward to announcing a new date soon.” There were 54 “yes” votes in the Assembly when it passed in June – the veto-proof majority necessary in the 80-seat house.
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.
“New Jersey’s definitely vulnerable,” said former FBI agent Manny Gomez. He means the statewide system of 11,000 computerized voting machines, where New Jerseyans will close the curtains and pick a president this November. It’s a network that hackers could break into, without even breaking a sweat, because these systems were designed for efficiency, not security, according to Gomez. “Jersey’s very vulnerable from foreign attacks or just some goofball sitting in his basement that has the skill set. It’s not that complicated to hack into a government entity these days,” he said. … “Election results can be altered through a hack and they can also be altered through human error. The problem with New Jersey’s voting machines is, there’s no way to check,” said RutgersProfessor Penny Venetis. Venetis says the AVCs contain no paper backup to verify votes cast, although that’s required by New Jersey law. She sued the state — which refused to replace the machines — but agreed not to connect them to the internet.