Cryan, Quijano & Lagana Bill to Make Mail-in Ballots More Accessible to Voters Advanced by Assembly Panel
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, February 10, 2014, 12:36 PM EST
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Cryan (D-Union), Annette Quijano (D-Union) and Joseph Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic) to have mail-in ballot applications for use in future elections available at polling places was approved Monday by an Assembly panel.
“This is a matter of convenience. People are busier these days. Making the time to pick up a mail-in ballot application may not be so simple for some residents, while others may not have access to a computer to download the application online,” said Cryan. “This is a reasonable way to simplify the process and ensure that people are able to exercise their right to vote come Election Day.”
The bill (A-683) requires that mail-in ballot applications for voting in future elections be available to voters for pick-up at polling places on Election Day. The bill also requires that poll workers be trained to discuss such application instructions with an applicant, upon request.
“Once the polls close, there is no do-over,” said Quijano. “This helps give voters some leeway in case they are unable to vote in person on Election Day. It is also convenient. They can skip the trip to their county clerk’s office and pick up a mail-in ballot application right there at their polling place.”
“Giving voters the option to grab an application at their polling place that they can later use to vote in another election is just smart,” said Lagana.
Under the bill, the Secretary of State would make copies of mail-in ballot applications for future elections, and instructions detailing the process that an eligible voter must follow in order to apply to vote by mail in future elections available at each polling place on the day of any election.
The bill also directs the secretary to ensure poll workers are trained on the instructions for completing and mailing a mail-in ballot application for future elections so they can properly instruct a voter who asks for help.
The bill was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.