NJ Governor to Sign AVR Bill Into Law

[Image via 943thepoint]

New Jersey is poised to become the latest state to enact automatic voter registration with the announcement by Governor Phil Murphy that he will sign an AVR bill today. NJ.com has more:

There’s about to be a lot more registered voters in the state of New Jersey, which already has 5.8 million people on its rolls.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday he will sign into law a bill that would automatically register people to vote if they apply for a driver’s license or non-driver ID card in the Garden State. Murphy, a Democrat, said in a tweet that he will sign the legislation on Tuesday. 

The bill was rejected in the past by former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. But the state’s new governor said in a tweet that “in the age of … voter suppression, states must expand, not just protect, voting rights.”

The soon-to-be law, which was passed by both chambers of the state Legislature last week, also goes beyond trips to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

It would also allow any state agency that collects documents and personal data to “establish a procedure to automatically register people to vote.” 

Technically, that means the state welfare department and parole board could choose to do so — though people on parole for a felony conviction cannot vote at all under state law. Other parolees would not be allowed to vote until after they finished their sentences.

The state Motor Vehicle Commission would be the only agency required to implement automatic registration. It would be optional for other agencies.

New Jersey has 2,375,773 unaffiliated voters, 2,139,201 Democrats and 1,247,740 registered Republicans, according to the latest Division of Election numbers. There are another 37,437 registered voters in seven other party affiliations.

As with any such reform, the work starts (not ends) with the Governor’s signature; there will be necessary technical and policy change to make AVR work at motor vehicles offices and elsewhere. But the Governor’s signature will continue automatic voter registration’s steady expansion to more and more states nationwide. Stay tuned …

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