The Institute's Henal Patel writes
N.J. needs early voting and more, now
Our organization couldn’t agree more with the Star Ledger’s Jan. 11 editorial calling for expanded in-person early voting in New Jersey. It’s time to approve early voting now, in time for the November election when the Governor and whole Legislature will be on the ballot. Many states already have robust in-person early voting systems, and it’s long past time for us to join them.
We know that Black and other voters of color in particular traditionally distrust voting by mail, so having the ability to use an electronic machine when voting before Election Day and is essential for equity in our democracy. So is funding the electronic registration books that would make this possible.
While we’re at it, we must also pass same-day registration, so that people can register on the same day that they vote, as over 20 other states already allow. And, we should pass legislation to limit police presence at polling places to reduce intimidation to Black and other voters of color.
New Jersey shouldn’t be behind other states when it comes to making democracy accessible. We should be the model of an inclusive democracy. Let’s do this now.
Henal Patel, director, Democracy & Justice Program, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Newark
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