NEWARK – Top election officials from Utah and Connecticut joined Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey today to brief New Jersey legislators, legislative staff and election officials on same-day voter registration. The Utah and Connecticut officials emphasized the secure nature of same-day voter registration and the capability of election officials in their states to implement it smoothly and effectively.
Connecticut and Utah are two of 20 states – in addition to Washington, D.C. – that have same-day voter registration.
Through its Democracy in A Day campaign, New Jersey advocates have been urging legislators to pass A1966/S247, sponsored by Assemblyman Mukherji and Senator Sandra Cunningham. The legislation will allow eligible residents to securely register and vote in a single day, including on Election Day.
While the same-day voter registration legislation has a long list of sponsors and co-sponsors in both chambers, elected officials have failed to move the bill forward.
In addition to Assemblyman Mukherji – who discussed New Jersey’s pending legislation – today’s panel included:
Utah Deputy Elections Director Shelly Jackson
Connecticut Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates
Connecticut Chief of Staff and General Counsel to Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merill
“Especially during these times of peril for our democracy, New Jersey should not be behind twenty other states when it comes to having a robust democracy where voting is easy, accessible and accommodating to voters who might encounter obstacles to the ballot,” said the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “We are grateful to the election officials from Utah and Connecticut for joining us today and sharing their insight about same-day voter registration. We hope their perspective will encourage the Legislature to enact it in our state quickly. With Governor Murphy behind this legislation, it’s time New Jersey step up as a voting rights leader.”
“At a time where our democratic institutions are facing deterioration and certain states are moving to impede voting rights to marginalize the voices of some voters, New Jersey has the ability to improve voter accessibility by eliminating barriers that result from registration deadlines,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Chair of the Judiciary Committee. “Same-day voter registration is an easy way to increase participation and turnout while leveraging our existing election infrastructure. It’s motherhood, fatherhood and apple pie.”
“Connecticut’s system of Election Day Registration is an important tool to ensure that every eligible voter is able to register, cast their ballot and make their voice heard,” said Connecticut Deputy Secretary Scott Bates. “For almost a decade, more than 100,000 voters who might not otherwise have been able to exercise their right to vote have voted with Election Day Registration in towns across our state. Local election officials in each Connecticut town have also been able to keep more accurate voter roles with the information that Election Day Registration provides, creating a secure election process for every voter.”
“Same-day voter registration has served as a useful fail-safe system for Utahns who thought they were registered and had planned to cast a ballot,” said Utah Deputy Elections Director Shelly Jackson. “County to county, election officials have praised same-day voter registration as accessible and secure. In Utah, it doesn’t add to the caseload for election officials and doesn't delay election results. As long as Utahns have a valid ID and proof of residency, they can cast a provisional ballot. We think it's a huge win for voters."
Same-day voter registration has been shown to increase turnout for Black and Latina/Latino voters, and in particular young people. It will also cost New Jersey little – if anything – since it uses the already-existing provisional ballot system. Same-day voter registration is as secure as traditional voter registration and also an effective way to remedy inaccurate voting rolls.