SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR

SENATE, Nos. 481 and 651

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

ADOPTED MARCH 26, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† JOSEPH F. VITALE

District 19 (Middlesex)

Senator† JAMES BEACH

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Gill, Cruz-Perez, Cunningham, Pou, Ruiz, Greenstein, Madden, Gopal and Stack

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Automatically registers to vote and updates voter registration for eligible person when applying for motor vehicle driverís license, examination permit, probationary driverís license, or non-driver identification card.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Substitute as adopted by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

††

 

 

 


An Act concerning voter registration and amending and supplementing P.L.1994, c.182.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1. †(New section) The Legislature finds and declares that:

†††† a. †The right to vote is a fundamental right in New Jersey and for all citizens of the United States.

†††† b. †It is the responsibility of the State of New Jersey to:

†††† (1) ensure that every eligible State resident is registered to vote;

†††† (2) promote policies that will grow voter registration rates and voter turnout;

†††† (3) guarantee that State voter registration systems are secure and maintained with accuracy and efficiency and with the best available technologies and procedures; and

†††† (4) safeguard New Jerseyís voters from disenfranchisement on Election Day due to outdated or inaccurate voter roll information.

†††† c. †In other states, automatic voter registration at state agencies has made state voter rolls more accurate while increasing voter registration rates and may have contributed to increased voter turnout, especially among populations that are less likely to participate in elections.

†††† d. †It is, therefore, the purpose of this act, P.L.††† , c.††† (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to:

†††† (1) enable the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and the Secretary of State to register all eligible State residents to vote with accurate, cost-efficient, and up-to-date procedures;

†††† (2) modernize New Jerseyís voter registration and voter list maintenance procedures; and

†††† (3) protect and enhance the integrity, accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility of the electoral process for all eligible State residents.

 

†††† 2. †Section 23 of P.L.1994, c.182 (C.39:3-10m) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 23.† Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the contrary, each applicant, who meets all requirements for eligibility to vote, for a State motor vehicle driver's license, an examination permit, a probationary driverís license, or a non-driver identification card application, including any application for a renewal or update thereof, submitted to an agent of the [Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Law and Public Safety] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall be offered an opportunity to [register to vote] decline the automatic voter registration pursuant to section 24
of P.L.1994, c.182 (C.39:2-3.2).†

(cf: P.L.1994, c.182, s.23)†

 

†††† 3. †Section 24 of P.L.1994, c.182 (C.39:2-3.2) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 24. a. The Secretary of State, with the assistance [and concurrence of the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles] of the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, shall [formulate a means of permitting a person] provide for an eligible applicant to simultaneously apply for a motor vehicle driver's license, an examination permit, a probationary driverís license, or a non-driver identification card, as applicable, and [to register] be automatically registered to vote, or have an existing voter registration updated, in a manner which satisfies both the requirements necessary to receive a license to operate a motor vehicle, pursuant to R.S.39:3-10, or an examination permit, a probationary driverís license, or a non-driver identification card, as applicable, and [to be permitted] to register to vote, pursuant to R.S.19:4-1. The applicant shall be offered an opportunity to decline the automatic voter registration under this section.††

†††† [The Division of Motor Vehicles, upon receipt of a completed voter registration application under this section, shall stamp or otherwise mark the lower right hand corner of the document with the date on which it was so received and forward the document to the Secretary of State no later than the 10th day following the date of acceptance.]

†††† b.† [Each application for voter registration which is received by the Division of Motor Vehicles shall be considered and processed as the replacement for any pre-existing voter registration of the applicant](1) Pursuant to subsection a. of this section, for every application for a motor vehicle driverís license, an examination permit, a probationary driverís license, or a non-driver identification card, and each related update, renewal, or change of address, the Chief Administrator shall ensure that the information necessary for voter registration is collected from the application and promptly transmitted electronically to the Secretary of State. The Chief Administrator shall ensure that electronic records are not transmitted to the Secretary of State for any applicant who has declined registration. The Secretary of State shall register to vote or update an existing registration for any eligible applicant who has not declined voter registration.

†††† (2) Until such time as the Chief Administrator determines, through promulgation of rule or regulation, that prompt electronic transmission of the information necessary for voter registration from an application received through the mail for renewal of a motor vehicle driverís license or non-driver identification card is practicable, the Chief Administrator shall ensure that the information necessary for voter registration is collected from that application and transmitted electronically to the Secretary of State within 10 days of receipt thereof. The Chief Administrator shall ensure that electronic records are not transmitted to the Secretary of State for any applicant who has declined registration. The Secretary of State shall register to vote or update an existing registration for any eligible applicant who has not declined voter registration.

†††† c. The Chief Administrator shall provide for the following notices to be printed on every application for a motor vehicle driverís license, an examination permit, a probationary driverís license, or a non-driver identification card and every related update, renewal, or change of address:

†††† (1) a notice that the applicant will be registered to vote, if eligible, unless the applicant specifically declines the automatic voter registration;

†††† (2) a notice of the voter eligibility requirements under R.S.19:4-1 and the penalties for false registration and illegal voting under Title 19 of the Revised Statutes; and

†††† (3) a notice that an applicant who is a victim of domestic violence or stalking may decline the automatic voter registration and register to vote without disclosing the applicantís street address pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1994, c.148 (C.19:31-3.2).

†††† [c.†† Each change of address notification submitted to the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles] d. For each applicant already registered to vote, any change of address notification submitted to the Chief Administrator for the purpose of maintaining current information on [a person's motor vehicle license] an applicant shall be promptly reported to the Secretary of State . A change of address notification received by the Chief Administrator in paper format shall be reported to the Secretary of State no later than the 10th day following its receipt by the [Division of Motor Vehicles and shall serve as notification for the change of address process,] Chief Administrator. The Secretary of State shall use the change of address notification to automatically update an existing voter registration unless the [registrant] applicant declines the automatic voter registration pursuant to this section and indicates that the change of address is not for voter registration purposes.† A change of address notification submitted to the commission, which is used for voter registration purposes, shall be subject to the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1994, c.148 (C.19:31-3.2) if the person submitting the change of address notification previously registered to vote in accordance with that section.

†††† e. †If a person who is not entitled to vote becomes registered to vote pursuant to this section, that personís registration shall be presumed to have been effected with official authorization, and the person shall not be deemed to have committed a crime under R.S.19:34-1. This subsection shall not apply to a person who knowingly and willfully makes a false statement to effectuate voter registration.

†††† f. The Secretary of State, with the assistance of the Chief Administrator, shall take appropriate measures to educate the public about voter registration under this section.

†††† For the purposes of this section, ďeligible applicantĒ means a person submitting to the commission an application for a motor vehicle driverís license, an examination permit, a probationary driverís license, or a non-driver identification card who meets all requirements for eligibility to vote under R.S.19:4-1.

†(cf: P.L.1994, c.182, s.24)

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following the date of enactment, but the Chief Administrator may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.