In New Jersey, politics is a contact sport. It should come as a great disappointment that New Jersey was just ranked 37th in the nation for the administration of our elections. The Pew Charitable Trusts assembled a panel of experts to rank each state and the District of Columbia. The newest rankings came out last week. Not only did the experts score New Jersey poorly, but the Garden State was one of only 10 states that saw a decrease in their score from 2008. Worse, the Garden State got mowed by some of its neighbors. Pennsylvania came in 16th, Connecticut was 10th and Delaware was ninth. As a small comfort, the Garden State did beat New York, which came in an abysmal 47th. … So, how can New Jersey improve its ranking? First, the state could implement an online voter registration system. This innovation, which has been adopted in 16 states thus far, has made it easier for citizens to register quickly and securely, while allowing for instant verification of eligibility. Four additional states have recently passed similar measures. New Jersey should follow their lead.
… Second, New Jersey should increase the amount of information voters can find online. The current system only allows registered voters to confirm their registration status and locate their place to vote. An expanded online system could disseminate information on the candidates, as well as provide absentee and provisional voters the ability to easily confirm the status of their votes. No one should be uncertain about whether or not their vote was counted.
… Third, the state should follow the lead of 25 other states and conduct regular election audits. After each statewide election or primary, a few precincts are selected at random. In those precincts, in full public view, the paper ballots are counted by hand to verify the accuracy of the electronic count. Audits identifstay errors, find technical glitches, deter election fraud, and help administrators learn what’s working well and what they could do better in future elections. While audits cost about $1,000 per precinct, they lead to better decisions when it comes time to decide how best to replace aging voting machines — a choice that can cost many millions statewide.
Full Article: Technology key to improving NJ elections: Opinion | NJ.com.