Bill Text: NJ A5195 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Allows certain voters to obtain and vote mail-in ballot on election day under certain circumstances.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-18 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee [A5195 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-A5195-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 5195

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 18, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  PATRICIA EGAN JONES

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblyman  ROY FREIMAN

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblywoman  LISA SWAIN

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Spearman

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Allows certain voters to obtain and vote mail-in ballot on election day under certain circumstances.

 

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the ability to obtain and vote a mail-in ballot on election day and amending and supplementing P.L.2009, c.79.

 

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

 

     1.    (New section) a. Any voter who meets the definition of an "emergency voter," who fails to apply for a mail-in ballot before the seven-day period prescribed in subsection b. of section 3 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-3), and who fails to apply in person to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election as prescribed in subsection d. of that section, may apply to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot using an authorized messenger on the day of the election and may submit the voted ballot using an authorized bearer before the closing of the polls.

     As used in this section, an "emergency voter" means a duly registered voter who is:

     (1) a person suffering a temporary incapacity or illness; and

     (2) who is unable to vote in person on election day due to the person's medical care or hospitalization due to the incapacity or illness, as applicable.

     b. The Secretary of State shall develop a list of acceptable verification documents in order to permit an emergency voter to request and vote a mail-in ballot on the day of an election as provided in this section. The verification documents shall include proof of the voter's temporary incapacity or illness and medical care or hospitalization.   

     c. If a judicial proceeding is required to determine whether a voter is permitted to vote as an emergency voter pursuant to this section, and if that voter or the voter's representative is required to appear in court, the appearance of the voter or the voter's representative may be conducted by video conference.

 

     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.

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

     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. A voter who meets the definition of an "emergency voter" under section 1 of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the legislature as this bill) may apply to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot on the day of the election using an authorized messenger, and may return the ballot using an authorized bearer, as provided in that section.

     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 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.2018, c.72, s.1)

 

     3.    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.

     An "emergency voter" who is: (1) a person suffering a temporary incapacity or illness; and (2) who is unable to vote in person on election day due to the person's medical care or hospitalization due to the incapacity or illness, as applicable, may apply to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot on the day of the election using an authorized messenger, and may return the ballot using an authorized bearer. Proof of the voter's temporary incapacity or illness and medical care or hospitalization is required.

     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.

     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)

 

     4.    Section 15 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-15) is amended to read as follows:

     15. The commissioner of registration upon receipt of the information from the county clerk required by section 14 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-14) shall mark the applicant's record in the Statewide voter registration system and duplicate voting record appearing on the signature copy registers as follows.

     Whenever the commissioner of registration receives from the county clerk notice that a mail-in ballot has been forwarded to a voter during the time when the signature copy registers are in the custody of other election officials pursuant to current law, or are in transit to or from such officials, the commissioner shall, prior to the opening of the polls on election day, forward to each polling place a list of all such voters to whom ballots have been sent but whose duplicate voting record has not been marked in the manner herein prescribed.  Such lists may be prepared in the same manner as a challenge sheet and may be included therein together with other causes for challenge.  Any person whose name appears on any list or notice furnished by the commissioner of registration to the effect that such voter has received a mail-in ballot, but who wishes nevertheless to vote at the polls on the day of an election, shall be permitted to vote by provisional ballot after completing the affirmation statement attached to the envelope provided with the provisional ballot pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1999, c.232 (C.19:53C-1). 

     Whenever a mail-in ballot has been delivered to a voter less than seven days before an election and up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election, and the signature copy registers are in the custody of other election officials, or in transit to or from such officials, the county clerk shall prepare a master list of all such ballots, and the list shall be transmitted to the commissioner of registration in sufficient time to permit the commissioner to notify the appropriate municipal clerk.  The clerk shall notify the judge of the polling place to mark the voter's record accordingly. On the day of the election, the list shall include the ballots provided to each voter who meets the definition of an "emergency voter" under section 1 of P.L.   , c.   (C.   ) (pending before the legislature as this bill), and the clerk shall notify the judge of the polling place to mark the voter's record accordingly.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.79, s.15)

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

    

     Under current law, registered voters who wish to vote using a mail-in ballot are required to apply for the ballot before a seven-day period ahead of the election, but may do so in person up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election. This bill would allow any voter who meets the definition of an "emergency voter" to apply to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot using an authorized messenger on the day of the election and to submit the voted ballot using an authorized bearer before the closing of the polls.

     Under the bill, an "emergency voter" means a duly registered voter who is: (1) a person suffering a temporary incapacity or illness; and (2) who is unable to vote in person on election day due to the person's medical care or hospitalization due to the incapacity or illness, as applicable.           

     The bill directs the Secretary of State to develop a list of acceptable verification documents in order to permit an emergency voter to request and vote a mail-in ballot on the day of an election. The verification documents would include proof of the voter's temporary incapacity or illness and medical care or hospitalization.  

     The bill also provides that if a judicial proceeding is required to determine whether a voter is permitted to vote as an emergency voter, and if that voter or the voter's representative is required to appear in court, such appearance may be conducted by video conference.

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