LEGISLATIVE FISCAL ESTIMATE

[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 589

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

DATED: JUNE 27, 2018

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Synopsis:

Requires Secretary of State to establish secure Internet website for online voter registration; authorizes use of digitized signatures from New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commissionís database.

Type of Impact:

Expenditure increase to the State General Fund for reprogramming costs; increase to county funds for increase sample ballot processing costs; expenditure decrease to the State General Fund and county funds from automation savings.

Agencies Affected:

Division of Elections in the Department of State; New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission; New Jersey County Clerksí Offices.

 

 

Office of Legislative Services Estimate

Fiscal Impact

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

 

State Cost

$350,000

Indeterminate

 

 

Local Costs

Indeterminate

 

State Savings

Indeterminate

 

Local Savings

Indeterminate

 

 

 

 

         According to an update of information previously provided by the Division of Elections in the Department of State for a fiscal note to an identical bill in 2014, the implementation of the provisions of this bill to: (1) program the current Statewide Voter Registration System with an interactive voter registration form that can be completed by a registrant online and then submitted electronically to the appropriate county commissioner for approval and (2) to program the Motor Vehicle Commissionís computers to allow the use of digitized signatures from registrants who authorize the use of that signature for voter registration purposes while completing the online voter registration form, would cost approximately $350,000 in the first year.

 

         To the extent that the online voter registration capability increases voter registration, county clerksí offices could experience higher costs to process and mail more sample ballots to new voters.† These costs are indeterminate.

         Once the Statewide Voter Registration System is reprogrammed and the signatures are digitized, the cost to process each non-automated form manually will be reduced as voters use the online voter registration forms.† Savings will result from not having to print, mail, and key stroke information into the system to accommodate non-automated registration forms.† It is estimated that each online registration could save up to 51 cents per form.

 

 

BILL DESCRIPTION

 

††††† The bill requires the Secretary of State to establish a secure Internet website to allow eligible voters to register to vote using an online voter registration form.† The bill also authorizes the use of digitized signatures from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commissionís database in connection with online voter registration forms.

††††† Under the bill, the Secretary of State must employ security measures to ensure the accuracy and integrity of voter registration forms submitted electronically.† The secretary must require an applicant who submits an online voter registration form to submit the number from his or her New Jersey driverís license or non-driver identification card issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission; his or her date of birth; and any other information the secretary deems necessary to establish the identity of the applicant completing the form.† Upon submission of the online voter registration form, the electronic voter registration system must immediately verify that the applicant has a New Jersey driverís license or non-driver identification card; that the number for that driverís license or non-driver identification card provided by the applicant matches the number for that personís driverís license or non-driver identification card that is on file with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission; and that the date of birth provided by the applicant matches the date of birth for that person that is on file with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.† The system must also automatically acknowledge that the online voter registration form has been submitted successfully, and provide instructions on how the person completing the voter registration form may follow-up on the status of the submission either online or by contacting the appropriate county commissioner of registration.

††††† Under the bill, an applicant completing the online voter registration form must affirmatively attest to the truth of the information provided therein, and affirmatively assent to the use of his or her signature from his or her driverís license or non-driver identification card.† For each online voter registration form, the secretary must obtain an electronic copy of the applicantís signature from his or her driverís license or non-driver identification card directly from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.† The secretary would promulgate deadlines for when an online voter registration form submitted by an applicant would be effective ahead of an election to be held in the election district of the applicant submitting the form.

††††† The bill also provides that, if an applicant cannot electronically submit the identification information required, the applicant must nevertheless be able to complete the online voter registration form electronically on the Secretary of Stateís Internet website, print a paper copy of the completed form, and mail or deliver the paper copy of the completed form to the Secretary of State or the appropriate county election official.† In those cases, the applicant must provide the same identification and documents required under current law in connection with paper voter registration forms, as specified under R.S.19:31-5.

††††† The information on the online voter registration forms would be electronically transferred by county commissioners of registration into the Statewide voter registration system already established by law.

FISCAL ANALYSIS

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

††††† None Received

 

 

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

 

††††† According to an update of information previously provided by the Division of Elections in the Department of State for a fiscal note to an identical bill in 2014, the implementation of the provisions of this bill to: (1) program the current Statewide Voter Registration System with an interactive voter registration form that can be completed by a registrant online and then submitted electronically to the appropriate county commissioner for approval and (2) to program the Motor Vehicle Commissionís computers to allow the use of digitized signatures from registrants who authorize the use of that signature for voter registration purposes while completing the online voter registration form, would cost approximately $350,000 in the first year.† To the extent that the online voter registration capability increases voter registration, county clerks offices could experience higher costs to process and mail more sample ballots to new voters.† These associated costs are indeterminate.

††††† The OLS notes that an indeterminate amount of savings may also result from this bill.† Currently, the manual signature card component comprises the largest portion of the registration cost.† Once the Statewide Voter Registration System is reprogrammed and the signatures are digitized, the cost to process voter registrations manually will be reduced.† Savings will result by not having to print, mail, and key stroke information into the system to accommodate non-automated registration forms.† In the previous fiscal estimate, the Division of Elections informally indicated that it estimated that each online registration could save up to 51 cents per form.

 

 

Section:

State Government

Analyst:

Kimberly McCord Clemmensen

Senior Fiscal Analyst

Approved:

Frank W. Haines III

Legislative Budget and Finance Officer

 

 

This fiscal note has been prepared pursuant to P.L.1980, c.67 (C.52:13B-6 et seq.).