Institute and Over 80 Groups Urge Passage of Same-Day Voter Registration
Current Registration Deadline Arbitrary and Disenfranchises Voters, Say Groups
NEWARK – Over 80 advocacy groups including the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey today wrote to Gov. Murphy, Sen. President Steve Sweeney and Speaker Craig Coughlin urging them to pass and sign pending legislation (A4548/S2824) to establish same-day voter registration in New Jersey, including on Election Day.
“New Jersey’s three-week arbitrary registration deadline disenfranchises voters year after year. It is long past time for New Jersey to join the over 20 states that allow voters to register on the same day that they vote up to and on Election Day,” said the groups in their letter.
As the new Democracy in a Day campaign advocates, making voting easy and accessible to voters is a key way to expand democracy in New Jersey.
New Jersey has made significant progress in the last few years reforming our antiquated and burdensome voter registration processes. Automatic Voter Registration, Online Voter Registration and restoring the right to vote to people on parole and probation have positioned New Jersey as a national leader in the voting rights space.
However, said the groups, “each of these reforms is currently undercut by an unnecessary voter registration deadline, dampening our state’s efforts to ensure that every eligible citizen can participate in our democracy.”
Enacting same-day voter registration can help make these reforms more impactful, and ensure that those most likely to be disenfranchised are not shut out of elections. Same-day registration can lead to a 5% voter turnout increase, with as much as a 10 percentage point turnout increase among 18 to 24-year-olds.
The groups’ letter also explains that same-day voter registration is secure and an effective way to remedy inaccurate voting rolls. It is low-cost and can be implemented using existing election infrastructure.
The groups pointed out that while same-day registration is important for all voters, it is also a racial justice issue. Young people are more diverse in New Jersey than older generations, as over half of millennials in the state are people of color. Generation Z is even more diverse. Black and Brown voters, as well as young people, are often purged from voter rolls at higher rates.
“There are many reasons to enact same-day registration, but the most important is that it will promote democracy,” said the groups. “During these pivotal times when we’ve been reminded of the consequences of voter suppression throughout the country, it is imperative to combat all systems that intentionally or inadvertently erode democracy.”
A full copy of the letter can be found here.