Senate bill authorizing the pre-electoral counting of advance votes and by correspondence

A bill that would allow advance and postal votes to be requested by county election commissions before election day was brought forward today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The bill was drafted largely in response to last year’s general election, when the slow counting of votes in some counties left election results in several races undetermined for days or weeks. after polling day.

“The results of this year’s election have been significantly delayed due to the counting of votes. [absentee and early] ballots, ”State Senator Troy Singleton (D-Delran), one of the bill’s sponsors, said last month when introducing the bill. “By allowing county election councils to begin processing early votes and VBMs before election day, we hope to restore speed and confidence to the process, while maintaining and preserving the integrity of the elections.”

All of the Democrats on the committee voted in favor, while all four Republicans abstained. State Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver), explaining his reason for abstaining, said county election officials told him more far-reaching reforms were needed.

“I’m working with a few other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on comprehensive reforms,” O’Scanlon said. “We hear from county clerks all over New Jersey that they don’t necessarily need to start counting votes until election day.”

A similar bill, sponsored by Assembly Member Christopher DePhillips (R-Wyckoff), was also introduced in the Assembly, although the DePhillips bill would only apply to ballots by correspondence.

Norman D. Briggs