ASSEMBLY, No. 4626

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman† AURA K. DUNN

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen McClellan and Simonsen

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Permits county clerk to remove voters from vote-by-mail lists under certain circumstances.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning voting by mail and amending and supplementing P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-1 et seq.).

 

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

 

†††† 1.††† (New section)† a.† The clerk of each county may remove a voter from the list of qualified voters receiving mail-in ballots if any of the following conditions occur:

†††† (1)†† the United States Postal Service returned mail of a ballot, sample ballot, or any other official county election mail sent directly to the named voter;

†††† (2)†† the voter has not used a mail-in ballot for any election in a two-year period; or

†††† (3)†† the United States Postal Service National Change of Address System indicates the voterís recipient address has changed or is undeliverable.

†††† b.††† Prior to removing a voter from the list of qualified voters receiving a mail-in ballot under subsection a. of this section, the county clerk shall notify each voter identified for removal in writing.† The notice shall indicate the reasons for the removal and instruct the voter on the necessary steps to continue to vote by mail.† If the voter does not respond to the confirmation notice within 30 days of mailing, the county clerk shall remove that voter from the list of qualified voters receiving mail-in ballots and shall send that voter a notice of removal.† The county clerk shall include an application to re-apply to vote by mail with the notice of removal.

 

†††† 2.††† Section 3 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-3) is amended to read as follows:†

†††† 3.††† a.† A qualified voter shall be entitled to vote using a mail-in ballot:

†††† (1)†† in all future elections, including general elections, held in this State, in which the voter is eligible to vote; or

†††† (2)†† in any single election held in this State.

†††† The qualified voter who chooses the option to vote using a mail-in ballot in all future elections shall be furnished with such a ballot by the county clerk without further request on the part of the voter and until the voter requests in writing that the voter no longer be sent a mail-in ballot. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, a county clerk may remove a qualified voter from the list of voters receiving a mail-in ballot as provided under section 1 of P.L.†† , c.†† (C.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† The mail-in ballot application form prepared by the Secretary of State shall present the two options in the order provided above.

†††† The additional direct expenditures required for the implementation of the provisions of this subsection as amended by section 1 of P.L.2018, c.72 shall be offset pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2019, c.459 (C.19:63-29).

†††† b.††† Not less than seven days before an election in which a voter wants to vote by mail, the voter may apply to the person designated in section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5), for a mail-in ballot. The application shall be in writing, shall be signed by the applicant and shall state the applicant's place of voting residence and the address to which the ballot shall be sent. The Secretary of State shall prepare a mail-in application form and shall have the authority to promulgate any rules and regulations the secretary deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of this subsection.

†††† c.†††† Any voter wanting to vote by mail in any election may apply to the person designated in section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5) for a mail-in ballot to be sent to the voter. A voter who is a member of the armed forces of the United States may use a federal postcard application form to apply for a mail-in ballot.

†††† d.††† Any voter who fails to apply for a mail-in ballot before the seven-day period prescribed in subsection b. of this section may apply in person to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election.

†††† e.†††† A person voting by mail-in ballot who registered by mail after January 1, 2003, who did not provide personal identification information when registering pursuant to section 16 of P.L.1974, c.30 (C.19:31-6.4) and is voting for the first time in his or her current county of residence following registration shall include copies of the required identification information with the mail-in ballot. Failure to include such information with the mail-in ballot shall result in its rejection.

†††† f.†††† The county clerk shall not transmit a mail-in ballot for any election to any person who: is deemed by a county commissioner of registration to be an inactive voter; or notifies the clerk in writing that the person no longer wishes to receive such a ballot for any election; or has been removed from the list of qualified voters receiving a mail-in ballot as provided under section 1 of P.L.   , c.   (C.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); or is no longer eligible to vote and whose registration file has been transferred to the deleted file pursuant to R.S.19:31-19.

†††† g.††† Any mail-in ballot that is sent to a qualified voter and that is returned to the county clerk for any reason shall be forwarded to the commissioner of registration, who shall so note the return in the voter record of that voter.

(cf: P.L.2019, c.459, s.3)

 

†††† 3.††† Section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 5.††† In the case of any election, the application for a mail-in ballot shall be made to the county clerk. The county clerk shall stamp thereon the date on which the application was received in the clerk's office.

†††† In the case of applications for overseas federal election voter ballots, as provided for in P.L.1976, c.23 (C.19:59-1 et seq.), no application shall be refused on the grounds that it was submitted too early.

†††† In the case of voter registration forms that include a selected vote by mail option, a copy of each such form shall be transmitted to and received by the appropriate county clerk, who shall be responsible for providing mail-in ballots to each qualified voter requesting such ballots for future elections, until the voter requests otherwise in writing, or until the voter is removed from the list of qualified voters receiving a mail-in ballot as provided under section 1 of P.L.   , c.†† (C.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

(cf: P.L.2018, c.72, s.5)

 

†††† 4.††† Section 6 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-6) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 6.††† a.†† The county clerk, in the case of any Statewide election, countywide election, or school election in a regional or other school district comprising more than one municipality; the municipal clerk, in the case of any municipal election or school election in a school district comprising a single municipality; and the commissioners or other governing or administrative body of the district, in the case of any election to be held in any fire district or other special district, other than a municipality, created for specified public purposes within one or more municipalities, shall publish the following notice in substantially the following form:

†††† NOTICE TO PERSONS WANTING MAIL-IN BALLOTS

†††† If you are a qualified and registered voter of the State who wants to vote by mail in the......................... (school, municipal, primary, general, or other) election to be held on................. (date of election), the following applies:

†††† You must complete the application form below and send it to the county clerk where you reside or write or apply in person to the county clerk where you reside to request a mail-in ballot.

†††† The name, address, and signature of any person who has assisted you to complete the mail-in ballot application must be provided on the application, and you must sign and date the application.

†††† No person may serve as an authorized messenger or bearer for more than three qualified voters in an election.

†††† No person who is a candidate in the election for which the voter requests a mail-in ballot may provide any assistance in the completion of the ballot or serve as an authorized messenger or bearer.

†††† A person who applies for a mail-in ballot must submit his or her application at least seven days before the election, but such person may request an application in person from the county clerk up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election.

†††† Voters who want to vote by mail in all future elections will, after their initial request and without further action on their part, be provided with a mail-in ballot until the voter requests otherwise in writing, or until the voter is removed from the list of qualified voters receiving a mail-in ballot.

†††† Application forms may be obtained by applying to the undersigned either in writing or by telephone, or the application form provided below may be completed and forwarded to the undersigned.

†††† Dated.....................................................

............................................................................

†††† † (signature and title of county clerk)

†††† †....................................

†††† † (address of county clerk)

†††† †....................................

†††† † (telephone no. of county clerk)

†††† b.††† (1)†† The Secretary of State shall be responsible for providing all information regarding overseas ballots to each overseas voter eligible for such a ballot pursuant to P.L.1976, c.23 (C.19:59-1 et seq.). The secretary shall also make available valid overseas voter registration and ballot applications to any voter who is a member of the armed forces of the United States and who is a permanent resident of this State, or who is an overseas voter who wishes to register to vote or to vote in any jurisdiction in this State. The secretary shall provide such public notice as may be deemed necessary to inform members of the armed forces of the United States and overseas voters how to obtain valid overseas voter registration and ballot applications.

†††† (2)†† The Secretary of State shall undertake a program to inform voters in this State about their eligibility to vote by mail pursuant to this act. Dissemination of this information shall be included in the standard notices required by this section and other provisions of current law, including but not limited to the notice requirements of R.S.19:12-7, and shall be effectuated by such means as the secretary deems appropriate and to the extent that funds for such dissemination are appropriated including, but not limited to, by means of Statewide or local electronic media, public service announcements broadcast by such media, notices on the Internet site of the Department of State or any other department or agency of the Executive Branch of State government or its political subdivisions deemed appropriate by the secretary, and special mailings or notices in newspapers or other publications circulating in the counties or municipalities of this State.

†††† c.†††† The mail-in ballot materials shall contain a notice that any person voting by mail-in ballot who has registered by mail after January 1, 2003, who did not provide personal identification information when registering and is voting for the first time in his or her current county of residence following registration shall include copies of the required identification information with the mail-in ballot, and that failure to include such information shall result in the rejection of the ballot.

†††† d.††† The notice provided for in subsection a. of this section shall be published before the 55th day immediately preceding the holding of any election.

†††† Notices relating to any Statewide or countywide election shall be published in at least two newspapers published in each county. All officials charged with the duty of publishing such notices shall publish the same in at least one newspaper published in each municipality or district in which the election is to be held, or if no newspaper is published in the municipality or district, then in a newspaper published in the county and circulating in the municipality or district. All such notices shall be display advertisements.

(cf: P.L.2018, c.72, s.2)

 

†††† 5.††† This act shall take effect immediately, and shall be implemented on the first day following the November general election occurring after the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† The bill permits the clerk of each county to remove a voter from lists of qualified voters receiving mail-in ballots if the following circumstances apply:

†††† (1)†† the United States Postal Service returned mail of a ballot, sample ballot, or any other official county election mail sent directly to the named voter;

†††† (2)†† the voter has not used a mail-in ballot for any election in a two-year period; or

†††† (3)†† the United States Postal Service National Change of Address System indicates the voterís recipient address has changed or is undeliverable.

†††† Prior to removing a voter from the list the county clerk is required to notify the voter in writing and indicate the reasons for the removal and instruct the voter on the necessary steps to continue to vote by mail.† If the voter does not respond to the notice within 30 days of mailing, the county clerk would remove that voter from the list of voters receiving mail-in ballots and send that voter a notice of removal along with an application to re-apply to vote by mail.