March 6, 2013
Re: S2364, early voting bill
Yesterday, March 4, 2013, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S-2364, which would require early voting in certain elections. (For more information, please see our March 1 Dear Mayor letter) The vote was 8-5 along party lines, with the Democrats voting yes and Republicans voting no.
The sponsor, Senator Nia Gill, made significant changes to the bill shortly before the committee hearing. Unfortunately, the amendments have not been posted on-line yet, but the following reflects what was discussed at the hearing.
Instead of requiring each municipality to provide a space for early voting, now the early voting locations will be spread throughout the county at either 3, 5, or 7 locations, depending on the size of the county. However, these locations could still be in a municipal building.
The hours for early voting increased by two hours on Sundays, from noon-6 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. -6 p.m.
The bill also received a fiscal analysis from the Office of Legislative Services. The bill requires that the state make an appropriation to a fund so that municipalities and counties may request reimbursement from any additional costs early voting imposes on them. In its fiscal note, OLS estimates that the fund requires approximately $20 million the first year, $11 million the second year, and $7 million each subsequent year.
The League opposed and continues to oppose this bill. S2364 introduces a new, complex, and potentially expensive process. Furthermore, it is unnecessary as we currently have a process, Vote by Mail, which permits voters every opportunity to vote and participate in the democratic process.
Please consider passing a resolution in opposition to this and other early voting bills. You can find a copy of a sample resolution here: http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/2013-0301-Resolution-Early-Vote-A-3553-S-2364.pdf
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of this bill as the situations warrants. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Matthew Weng at 609-695-3481 ext 137or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.