We are a better, stronger, more representative democracy when more people participate. Across the nation, Republicans have systematically tried to disenfranchise voters. Here in New Jersey our over age-18 population is seven million people strong, but we have only 5.6 million registered voters and ranked 29th in turnout in the 2016 presidential election. The answer to both is clear: Make it easier for people to register, and give them more opportunities to cast their vote.
As governor, Phil Murphy will empower voters and increase participation by:
- Making voter registration easier through:
- Automatic voter registration: Five states have automatic voter registration at their Motor Vehicle Commissions (MVC). This means that residents are automatically registered to vote when they visit the MVC unless they opt out. Christie vetoed a law that would make NJ the sixth such empowering state.
- Online voter registration: There is no reason why our residents should be able to bank and shop online, but not register to vote. 38 states have already moved towards online voter registration in some form. NJ should follow suit.
- Same-day voter registration: Sixteen states have authorized voters to register the day of elections. NJ requires that our residents register 21 days before an election and we should change this policy.
- Allowing early voting: 21 states allow residents to vote early at the polls prior to election day — easing the burden for working families that cannot get to the polls in person. Governor Christie vetoed a bill that would have required counties to establish between three and seven polling places available for early voting during the 15 days prior to the election.
- Allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by election day: Currently, New Jersey citizens who turn 18 after the primary but before the general election are put in an unfair position where they have to vote for the candidates on the ballot but did not have a say in choosing who is on the ballot. 24 states have rectified this by allowing these voters to vote in the primary as well, and New Jersey should join these states.