Christie and NJ’s Early Voting

promoted by Rosi

Hillary Clinton called out a number of states and Republican Governors, including New Jersey and Christie, for not having suitable early voting opportunities. Christie shot back in the Washington Post:

“In New Jersey, we have early voting that are (sic) available to people. I don’t want to expand it and increase the opportunities for fraud. Maybe that’s what Mrs. Clinton wants to do. I don’t know.”

The most obvious issue here is his dodge to the “voter fraud” canard, which is bunk. There have been almost no proven instances of voter fraud in New Jersey or the United States, and certainly nowhere near enough to turn even a local school board election. We don’t live in Scandal.

Voter fraud is a GOP canard intended to limit voting by putting barriers in front of certain voters, and strangely those voters are generally in a block that backs Democrats.  

What New Jersey has is not really early voting as Christie suggests, but excuse-free mail-in absentee balloting.  Any eligible voter can request a mail-in ballot for one election or for every election.  Their county election board will then mail out the requested absentee ballot, and the voter fills it out and mails it in.  

That is a convenience, but it is not true early voting.  In order to get an absentee ballot you have to apply by mail at least a week before an election, and the ballot must be received three days before the election.  Not mailed, received.  In person, a voter can go to the county office three days before the election and request a ballot.  It can be filled out then and there, or returned by 3 p.m. the day before the election.

This is pretty good, but it helps people who are able to plan their lives in weekly or monthly chunks, or fairly wealthy folks who skew Republican.  For people who have varied work schedules, limited transportation options (think living in Stratford and having to get to Camden), care for a sick relative, or have other daily limitations this is not very helpful.  And these folks skew Democratic.

So mail-in balloting in New Jersey doesn’t do what Clinton is looking to do — ensure everyone can vote.  What it does do is make voting even more convenient for the GOP base and marginally more convenient for Democratic supporters.

No wonder Christie doesn’t want to expand it.

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