THIS THURSDAY EVENING!
PLEASE JOIN US!
Learn how to protect democracy and voter access in New Jersey!
REGISTER HERE: https://www.mobilize.us/njlcv/event/548337/?utm_source=NJ11FC
There are two kinds of states: those that do their best to support their citizens’ right to vote … and those that do their worst to suppress that right.
And New Jersey. Ah, New Jersey. We’re one of the states that supports the right of citizens to vote, right?
Not right now.
Right now, NJ is wrestling with the idea of same-day voter registration: allowing citizens who want to vote, and who are legally entitled to vote, to register on Election Day at their polling place. Legislation that proposes this access-positive policy — A1966/S247 — has been stalled in Trenton for over a year.
Currently, voters must register 21 days before an election if they wish to cast a ballot — an arbitrary deadline if we ever heard one. What is so special about 21 days? The right to vote is one of the most important parts of our democracy, yet thousands of people in New Jersey are shut out from participating because of this unnecessary barrier embedded in the voting process.
The stalled State Senate and Assembly bills are co-sponsored by a number of our local representatives, including Assemblymen John McKeon and Thomas Giblin, Assemblywomen Mila Jasey and Britnee Timberlake, and State Senator Richard Codey.
Instead of seeing same-day voter registration as a wonderful opportunity to help eligible voters exercise their rights and participate in democracy, many of our state legislators see this as an opportunity to judge whether those voters really deserve to vote. Whether those voters really care enough. Whether those voters’ right to take part in the election is [shrug!] really important.
Of course, as eligible citizens, they deserve to be able to vote.
Of course, if they show up at the polls eager to cast a ballot, they care enough.
Of course, their right to vote is important — to them, if not to the legislators in Trenton.
The 21-day barrier — like so many other regulations that end up disenfranchising people — tends to hit disadvantaged communities the hardest. In this case, people who have less stable addresses: people who don’t own homes, impoverished people and young people who have to move to follow jobs or sublet an apartment or sign a lease in a new, more affordable town. People who might need to change their registration to their new municipality on short notice.
It also hits people for whom the “easy” logistics of registering are not so easy, because they lack things that more privileged people take for granted — reliable access to internet service, information about the process, access to registration forms, a predictable work schedule, English-language fluency, or a free hour in a day already overburdened with childcare and eldercare and health problems and multiple job shifts and …
You get the picture.
There are so many reasons it might be much, much more difficult for someone else to register to vote than it is for you, or for us, or for people with the kinds of privilege enjoyed by legislators like NJ State Senate President Nick Scutari.
Not to mention people who move to town in late October, only to find that they’re out of luck when they want to vote in the new district they’re so excited to call home.
The numbers support making this change — if increasing voter participation is your goal. “Studies have found that same-day voter registration laws increase turnout. It is true that same-day voter registration increases turnout between 3.1 and 7.3 percentage points among young voters ages 18 to 24, and that Black and Latinx voter turnout is often higher in states that offer same-day voter registration than similarly situated states that don’t,” wrote journalist Josh Fine here.
New Jersey has a rule that (by design or by accident) makes it harder for some people to vote than others. If we’re going to have a rule with that kind of negative effect, there needs to be a compelling reason for it … and in this case, there just isn’t. We have the technology to allow same-day registration. We have the systems in place to safeguard against mistaken registrations. “Under A1966/S247,” explained Fine, “same-day voter registrants would need to provide valid identification, proof of residency and have their eligibility verified for their votes to be counted” — the same kind of safeguards that already exist, and work, for provisional voting.
Same-day registration opponent Nick Scutari (D), with former State Senator Steve Sweeney (D). “Someone’s got to convince me why people have the sacred right to vote and they can’t decide they’re going to do it until that day,” says Scutari.
It’s time to make same-day voter registration part of New Jersey’s commitment to expanding voter access, and acknowledge that the voter registration process as it stands is a lot easier for some people than it is for others. It is time for our legislators to stop obstructing access and disenfranchising eligible voters.
It is time for our State Senate and General Assembly to pass A1966/S247.
Please join a coalition of committed grassroots and advocacy groups on Thursday, February 9, at 6:30 PM to learn more about why our legislators should fight for this crucial change.
What? Protecting Democracy in NJ: Organizing for Same-Day Voter Registration
When? Thursday, February 9 at 6:30PM
Where? The League of Conservation Voters office, 1 N Johnston Ave, Hamilton Township, NJ 08609
Join us at this in-person session to learn what same-day voter registration is, how it will increase voter turnout in New Jersey, and actions you can take to urge lawmakers to pass this legislation. Food and drinks will be provided.
We're honored to co-host this event with the League of Conservation Voters, the League of Women Voters, New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, National Association for Social Workers—NJ, Council on American-Islamic Relations—NJ, NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice, Action Together NJ, Indivisible Cranbury, NJ Black Empowerment Coalition, Palestinian American Community Center, Central Jersey Progressive Coalition, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action, Social Justice Matters, NJ Working Families, Faith in NJ, Indivisible Lambertville New Hope, and Our Revolution New Jersey.
And we are thrilled have legendary Newark activist (and People’s Organization for Progress leader) Larry Hamm presenting at the event! Larry is one of the most dynamic, compelling, and insightful speakers in the state. He never fails to educate and inspire listeners!
Food, drinks, AND a chance to see Larry Hamm in action? Not to be missed, folks. Hope to see you there! AND hope to see you at the postcarding parties that are soon to follow!
Your contributions make our work possible! Donations allowed us to make almost 160,000 voter contacts in New Jersey's 11th congressional district in 2020, and over 130,000 in 2021; our efforts were a big part of making 11 towns flip from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020 (including some historically deep-red municipalities!) and securing a tight victory for Governor Phil Murphy in 2021.Your generous donation goes towards our data analysis and voter-file access, text banking expenses, support for our events, printing, and much more. It allows us to continue our work building a government that is transparent, responsive and accountable. Please visit our "DONATE" link and pledge any amount. Every contribution helps as we charge ahead into 2021 and beyond!
NJ 11th for Change is a 501(c)(4) unaffiliated organization dedicated to advocating for all people of New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District. We foster an engaged and informed community with the power to shape our political representation so that it is transparent, responsive and accountable—and so that it reflects the values of fairness, compassion, inclusivity and a decent quality of life.