New Jersey Democrats, anticipating a veto from Gov. Christie, are considering asking voters to amend the constitution to bring sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws. In doing so, they’re betting on a reliable but controversial strategy to advance policy initiatives that would otherwise stall under the Republican governor and presidential candidate. Democrats, who control both chambers in Trenton, have turned to the ballot box to skirt Christie on such measures as raising the minimum wage and dedicating funding for open space. “You would prefer to do it legislatively. It’s just that when left no options, you have to fight for the people,” Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said in an interview Thursday. “If the administration is going to ignore the will of the people he represents for political, ideological reasons, well, look, we’re going to go to the people.”
The bill the Legislature passed along party lines in June would establish automatic registration for eligible voters when they apply for a driver’s license or other form of ID at the Motor Vehicle Commission; create more opportunities for early voting; and offer online voter registration, among other provisions.
A number of states have enacted parts of these reforms – for example, 23 offer online voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures – but this legislation “would put New Jersey in pretty unprecedented territory in terms of the size of this package,” said Damon Daniels, campaign and outreach associate with Demos, a New York-based, liberal-leaning think tank. Christie vetoed an early-voting bill in 2013 and has expressed opposition to the latest legislation.
Full Article: Voting laws may be left to voters.