Assemblyman VINCENT MAZZEO
District 2 (Atlantic)
Assemblywoman PATRICIA EGAN JONES
District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblyman ANDREW ZWICKER
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Assemblymen McKeon, Holley and Assemblywoman Murphy
Establishes “New Jersey Elections Security Act.”
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on October 18, 2018, with amendments.
An Act concerning secure voting and elections and supplementing Title 19 of the Revised Statutes 1and repealing section 1 of P.L.2007, c.3491.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the “New Jersey Elections Security Act.”
2. a. 1[The Secretary of State shall establish a demonstration program to replace electronic voting machines with a paper ballot voting system using optical scanners. The program shall be implemented beginning at the first general election in November following the effective date of this act, P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), in three of the State’s 21 counties, one each in the Northern, Central, and Southern parts of the State, which shall be selected by the Secretary of State. The demonstration program in the initial three counties shall be implemented for one year in every election in those counties, and shall continue thereafter. Following the completion of the one-year demonstration program, the Secretary of State shall expand the program to include six additional counties per year over the next three years, until all of the State’s 21 counties are implementing the paper ballot voting system using optical scanners in the fourth year of implementation] Following the effective date of this act, P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), whenever a county replaces its electronic voting machines, it shall replace them with a paper ballot voting system as specified under this section1.
b. 1[The demonstration program established under subsection a. of this section] The paper ballot voting system1 shall include, but may not be limited to, the following requirements:
(1) a voter shall mark a paper ballot 1at the polling place, either by hand, using a ballot marking device certified by the State, or both, as may be determined in each county1, which 1ballot1 shall be tabulated using 1[an optical scanner] voting equipment certified by the State1;
(2) a voter shall 1[insert the marked paper ballot into the optical scanner] vote independently using the voting equipment certified by the State1, unless the voter is entitled to request and has requested assistance to vote pursuant to guidelines under the “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990” (42 U.S.C. s.12101 et seq.), and in that case the voter shall be assisted;
(3) the 1[optical scanners purchased] voting equipment certified1 by the State for use in elections 1[under the demonstration program] first implementing the paper ballot voting system1 and thereafter shall provide a “cast vote record” (CVR);
(4) all new 1[optical scanners] voting equipment certified by the State1 shall adhere to the federal Election Assistance Commission’s Voluntary Voting System Guidelines prior to purchase; and
(5) any other requirement the Secretary of State deems appropriate for the implementation of the 1[demonstration program] paper ballot voting system1.
3. a. The Secretary of State shall require the County Boards of Elections or Superintendents of Elections, as the case may be, to maintain all paper ballots cast in an election under this act, P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), for a period of not less than two years following the date of an election. Thereafter, the ballots may be retained in accordance with procedures set forth by the Director of the Division of Elections in the Department of State.
b. Prior to verification of the official election results by the County Boards of Elections or Superintendents of Elections, as the case may be, the boards or superintendents shall:
(1) compare and reconcile the 1[number of ballots] cast vote record provided by the voting equipment certified by the State1 with the number of voters who signed in at the polling place and who voted by mail-in, provisional, and military or overseas ballots;
(2) compare and reconcile precinct totals with countywide results to ensure that they add up to the correct sum; and
(3) review, and account for, all 1[optical scanner] voting equipment1 memory cards or flash drives to ensure they are properly loaded into the tally server.
4. a. The Secretary of State shall 1[also]1 require each of the counties 1[chosen for] implementing1 the 1[demonstration program] paper ballot voting system1 under section 1 of this act, P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to conduct a risk-limiting audit 1[,] for each election1 as provided in this section. 1[Thereafter, each county in this State shall conduct risk-limiting audits for each election as they begin to use the paper ballot voting system with optical scanners.]1
b. Each county shall make use of a risk-limiting audit in accordance with the requirements of this section. Races to be audited shall be selected in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary of State, and all contested races are eligible for such selection. Upon written application from a county, the Secretary of State may waive the requirements of this subsection upon a sufficient showing by the county that the technology in use by the county will not enable the county to satisfy such requirements in preparation for the first election in which a risk-limiting audit is used.
c. The Secretary of State 1, in consultation with the county Boards of Elections and Superintendents of Elections,1 shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement and administer the requirements of this section. In connection with the promulgation of the rules and regulations, the secretary shall consult recognized statistical experts, equipment vendors, and county clerks, and shall consider best practices for conducting risk-limiting audits.
d. As used in this section:
(1) “Incorrect outcome” means an outcome that is inconsistent with the election outcome that would be obtained by conducting a full recount 1by human inspection of the human-readable portions of the paper ballot1.
(2) “Risk-limiting audit” means an audit protocol that makes use of statistical methods and is designed to limit to acceptable levels the risk of certifying a preliminary election outcome that constitutes an incorrect outcome.
5. 1[There shall be appropriated] The State may appropriate1 the funds necessary to purchase new equipment, software, and hardware for the paper ballot voting system and to meet the costs of 1[the program established by] implementing1 this act, P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill). The 1[Department of State] counties1 shall be permitted to sell decommissioned voting machines, equipment, and software to other states to recoup funds. The 1[department shall also] Department of State shall1 apply for grant funding from the United States Election Assistance Commission to help offset these costs.
6. a. There is established the New Jersey Election Security Commission, which shall be in but not of the Department of State.
b. The commission shall be composed of 1[nine] 121 members to be appointed as follows:
(1) The Secretary of State, or the designee thereof;
(2) The Attorney General, or the designee thereof;
(3) The 1Director of the Division of Elections in the Department of State, or the designee therefor, and the1 Director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, or the designee thereof;
(4) Two members of the Senate, appointed by the President thereof, who shall not be members of the same political party;
(5) Two members of the General Assembly, appointed by the Speaker thereof, who shall not be members of the same political party; and
(6) 1[Two] Four1 members of the New Jersey Association of Election Officials, appointed by the Governor, 1[one] two1 of whom shall be 1[a]1 County 1[Clerk and] Clerks, who shall not be members of the same political party,1 one of whom shall be a county Superintendent of Elections 1and one of whom shall be a member of a County Board of Elections1, who shall not be members of the same political party.
Each member shall serve for a term of two years from the date of appointment and be eligible for re-appointment without limit. Any vacancy in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
c. Members of the commission shall be appointed within 45 days of the enactment of P.L. , c. (C. )(pending before the Legislature as this bill) and shall organize as soon as practicable after the appointment of the majority of its members. The Chair and Vice Chair of the commission shall be selected by the Governor from among the appointed members. The Chair may appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the commission. The commission shall meet at the call of the Chair and hold hearings at the times and in the places it may deem appropriate and necessary to fulfill its purposes.
d. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the commission for its purposes.
e. The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of the Department of State, and to employ such stenographic and clerical assistance and incur traveling and other miscellaneous expenses as may be necessary in order to perform its duties, within the limit of funds available to it for its purposes.
f. No later than four months following each general election following the enactment of this act, P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the commission shall draft and release a report on the security of elections occurring in this State during the previous year. The report shall include the results from the risk-limiting audit and the change to paper ballots with 1[optical scans] voting equipment certified by the State as1 required by this act. The commission may make recommendations, if deemed necessary, for the improvement of election security in this State.
g. Copies of the report shall be transmitted to the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly, the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Standing reference committees that consider election-related legislation, or their successor committees, and any other official required to receive reports pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1). Copies of the report shall also be made available to the general public.
17. Section 1 of P.L.2007, c.349 (C.19:61-9) is repealed.1
1[7.] 8.1 This act shall take effect 1[immediately] 180 days following the date of enactment1, but the Department of State in conjunction with any other applicable departments and local government units may take anticipatory actions prior to the enactment of this bill.