New Jersey just had the lowest Election Day turnout in its history – with just one out of five voters bothering to show up – so the governor figures he might as well make it harder for people to vote. His veto of the Democracy Act Monday was another predictable strike in Gov. Christie’s campaign for voter suppression, and he even dusted off some old chestnuts about unreasonable costs and how the bill failed to “ensure that every eligible citizen’s vote counts and is not stolen by fraud.” It’s always amusing when politicians imply that voters cannot be trusted. And it’s special when a politician who spent $12 million on a special election – in a shameless attempt to hide from the electorate – claims he’s looking out for our wallets.
So the Democracy Act is on ice, for now, because there is nothing in Christie’s aberrant version of governance that could make him embrace radical ideas such as online registration, more early-voting opportunities, or automatic registration for driver’s license applicants.
That veto, therefore, is just keeping in line with mainstream Republican policy: There were 90 bills designed to restrict voting rights introduced by the GOP in 2013 alone.
But this is one time that Christie’s attempt to undermine democracy should be met with full legislative force. Nobody wants to rewrite the state constitution, but whenever a governor decides to flaunt his disdain for the voters of his state, he leaves lawmakers little choice: Key provisions of the Democracy Act should be left up to the voter next November.