New Jersey lawmakers approve bills expanding voting rights as GOP-led states move to restrict access
March 29, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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TOPSHOT - Voters cast their ballots in the voting booths at the early vote location at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in North Charleston, South Carolina on October 16, 2020. - Many states across the country have seen record turnout for early voting for the 2020 election. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)
Lawmakers in New Jersey have sent the state's Democratic governor two election bills that together would expand voting rights for residents in the state, as GOP-led states move to restrict access to the ballot box elsewhere.
Washington (CNN)Lawmakers in New Jersey have sent the state's Democratic governor two election bills that together would expand voting rights for residents in the state, as GOP-led states move to restrict access to the ballot box elsewhere.
The first bill, given final passage from the state Senate on Thursday in a 28-8 vote, would allow residents to vote 10 days before a general election at specially designated polling sites, according to a release from the New Jersey Senate Democrats.
The bill only applies to a June primary or a November general election, according to the lawmakers, but municipalities could adopt an early voting period by ordinance for other elections.
A second bill sent to the governor gives the county board of elections the ability to determine the location of ballot drop boxes, the lawmakers' release said.
The New Jersey bills stand in stark contrast to efforts by Republican lawmakers around the US who are pushing to restrict access to the ballot box following record turnout in the November election.
As of February, state legislators in 43 states have introduced more than 250 bills with restrictive voting provisions, according to a tally from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
"Our accountability over government, opportunities to better our lives and the chance to elect our representatives all depend upon our ability to access the ballot," said state Democratic Sen. Nia Gill, a sponsor of the bill allowing people to vote 10 days before an election.
Among the states that have been working to pass restrictive voting measures is Georgia, whose Republican governor approved last week a sweeping elections bill that imposes voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.
But national Democrats have seized on the new law as well as others percolating around the country in their effort to pass new federal voting rights protections.