Tag Archive: vote

Marriage Equality Full Senate Vote Open Thread

UPDATE: S-1 passes 24-16. Next, on Thursday at 1pm, the full Assembly will consider the companion bill, A-1.

Getting ready for full Senate hearing on S-1

Today – if predictions and vote counts are correct – Blue Jersey’s Loretta Weinberg will see the initiative she and Ray Lesniak have championed for years – pass the New Jersey Senate. Today, the dream Steven Goldstein has had for years, and put much of his life on hold for, may be a step closer in what is still a complicated road made more frustrating by the will of a Governor not to sign it, despite clear indications that the majority of New Jerseyans are for it. Today, gay people and many straight allies alongside them, are waiting to see if the Senate will do what it did not do 2 years ago, when Democrats had a governor in office who was ready to sign it.

Today, S-1 will be voted on by the full NJ Senate. Full Assembly votes on the companion bill, A-1, Thursday 1pm. If both pass, Christie is expected to veto, but the legislature will have until the end of the session, January 2014, to override.

Two ways you can follow the discussion and vote:

  • Watch Live here.

    Note: You will need Windows Media Player, which you can download free at the bottom of the legislature’s media page. Session is scheduled to begin at noon. But frequently, they’re late. Refresh the media page often. When you see the ‘Pending’ notification go to ‘Listen’, you should be able to hear the proceedings.

  • Follow us on Twitter @bluejersey.

    As you’re watching, and even if you can’t, please use this post as an Open Thread.  

  • 73%, 47%, 43% … 32%?

    Update:  And the answer is … an all-time low of 26%. That’s just sad. -JG

    New Jersey is unique in so many ways, not the least of which is our 4-year election cycle. Unlike most other states, which combine their federal and state races and take a break every other year, we have critical elections each and every year. But, unfortunately, we have a hard time keeping voters’ attention, so the cycle ends up looking like this:

  • Year One: the Presidential Year – even in years where the outcome is a foregone conclusion, voters will come out to register their choice. In 2008, NJ voter turnout was 73%.
  • Year Two: the Gubernatorial Year – one of only two states that elect their governor the year after electing a president, turnout drops off significantly, but there’s still pretty good participation. In 2009, NJ voter turnout was 47%.
  • Year Three: the Midterms – whether a referendum on the President, or the Congress, the midterms carry national attention, but never seem to draw the same voter participation. Despite the highly charged atmosphere in 2010, NJ voter turnout was only 43%.
  • And now Year Four: the Legislative Election – the entire legislative branch of government in our state is up for election – all 40 Senate seats, all 80 Assembly seats. And, what kind of turnout should we expect? Well, if history serves as a guide – in 2007, NJ voter turnout was a paltry 32%.
  • Dames: Happy Women’s Equality Day

    Today’s the 91st anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote. In 1971, the first boss I ever had (later) – Rep. Bella Abzug – got Congress to designate August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. Real equality is of course a function of the opportunities and well-being of masses of women. We’re not there – in Jersey, or the world. But a few women deserve mention today.  

    List of Assembly Democrats who betrayed their party

    And it’s base.  The Hall of Shame:















    All from South Jersey save for the puppets in Adubato’s 29th district and Ryan, Joe D’s boy.

    A special thank you should go to Nelson Albano, who was the only south jersey representative in either house to vote against the bill.

    Going on Now: Assembly Vote on Major Changes in Public Worker Benefits

    Update 9:08: Yes 46 No 32 Bill now going to 2nd reading for purpose of amendment, to alter the in-state-requirement. Asm Gusciora, in a point of order is delaying because the amendments are not on their desks in paper form. He is informed by Speaker Oliver that they’re on each assembly member’s computer.

    Update 8:50: A first for us: Twitter has shut down our feed, for a few hours at least, it looks like. We have exceeded the allowable number of Tweets. We’re going to switch our coverage of the Assembly hearing to @deciminyan

    Update 6:26 Nearly 5-and-a-half hours late, the NJ Assembly session LIVE video feed begins. Watch here. NJN is now also broadcasting LIVE.

    Update 6:08 OK, here we go. Follow Deciminyan’s Tweets @bluejersey.

    Update 6:04: 5 hours late, and counting. It may be a foregone conclusion but Star-Ledger is reporting Gov. Christie told the New York Times today is an “extraordinary day for New Jersey.

    Outside, the pro-labor rally – with its signs, its unifying tee shirts and inflatable rat meant to provoke anti-labor Democrats – is winding down, after a day when rain threatened more than it poured.

    Assembly Chamber
    Gallery full. Chamber nearly empty. Holding pattern.

    But inside, now at three-and-one-half hours past the posted start time of the session, the New Jersey Assembly has still not settled down to meet.

    Deciminyan is in the room – has been for hours – and is on his second power charge of his laptop. He’s live-Tweeting. And we don’t know whether they’ll get started in 5 minutes or an hour. Right now, there are almost no Assembly members in the chamber.

    Follow us at  @bluejersey.

    Thank you to all of you who have retweeted us today, and a big Welcome to all our new Twitter followers and new members of the Blue Jersey community.

    Steve Sweeney – Meanwhile, adopting a defensive posture once again against the pro-labor rally outside, ‘union man’, Democrat and NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney has once again messaged the press by sending widely a copy of Bob Ingle’s column, Public unions’ stunts sure to backfire. I’ll leave it to today’s Assembly vote, history, and better-paid commentators than myself to decide who’s pulling “stunts” and whether they will “backfire”.

    I’ll just say that Sweeney’s shipping out articles favorable to him to reporters strikes me as coming from a position of weakness, and not of strength. If there’s a tipping point in the balance of whether he can really continue to lead Democrats, he may have already exceeded it. Time will tell. But I think it looks bad for the mighty muscled Sweeney to show such naked interest in how he looks to reporters.  

    Roll call: Sweeney’s S2937 passes 24-15: Assembly votes Thursday, Assembly Budget discussing now

    S2937, the Christie-Sweeney plan to dramatically alter collective bargaining rights in New Jersey, passed the Senate this afternoon 24-15. The Assembly version – A4133, as introduced by Lou Greenwald (D) and Declan O’Scanlon (R) – is next, first in Assembly Budget (which Greenwald chairs), then to the full Assembly for a vote. Gov. Christie will almost certainly sign it into law if it reaches his desk. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who has pushed this bill despite a body that may not be warm to it, said “bold, demonstrative large steps” are what’s needed now.

    Listen LIVE to the Assembly Budget hearing.

    Labor – CWA Political Director Bob Masters told the Assembly minutes ago that “real Democrats” would have killed this bill. Charlie Wowkanech, NJ AFL-CIO President said, “Where labor has no voice, democracy has no future.”

    Gov. Christie owes Steve Sweeney – Senate President, Democrat and ‘union man’ – a great deal for introducing and championing this bill. Its motive and agenda is largely Republican, as any student of current events can see. And Sweeney is choosing to use his position in the Senate to ram home legislation that threatens the long tradition of pubic employee labor having the power of collective bargaining negotiation to help determine working conditions, a fundamental of the Party he leads.

    As 12mileseastofTrenton notes, Sweeney’s own caucus voted against him 2-1, and the calls for his ouster as Senate President may grow louder.  

    The Norcross Provision As we noted earlier, the Senate bill was amended today to remove a much-disputed and cost-ineffective provision to limit public workers’ access to out-of-state medical care. But Assemblyman Greenwald appears interested in restricting public worker medical care to inside-Jersey, a highly debatable concept given for example that of the top 50 cancer hospitals in the U.S., none is in New Jersey. The part of the bill snidely referred to as the “Norcross provision” comes about as New Jerseyans calculate who might have stood to benefit from this legislation, or at least that part of it. Several of the world’s best hospitals in the world are just outside New Jersey’s borders, in NYC and in Philadelphia. Norcross, Sweeney’s benefactor and South Jersey Democratic Party boss, is Chair of Cooper Hospital in Camden, which has recently stepped up advertising to compete with premiere hospitals in Philadelphia. Restricting public workers to NJ facilities would certainly have boosted traffic to Cooper, and the fact that the provision would have furthered Sweeney’s benefactor’s interests added to the sense that this was payback to Sweeney’s benefactor for Sweeney’s monumental effort to ram this home against a rich ethical tradition of his own Party.  

    Here’s how they voted in the Senate:

    Voting YES:

    Addiego (R)

    Allen (R)

    Bateman (R)

    Beach (D)

    Beck (R)

    Bucco (R)

    Cardinale (R)

    Ciesla (R)

    Connors (R)

    Doherty (R)

    S. Kean (R)

    T. Kean (R)

    Kyrillos (R)

    Madden (D)

    Norcross (D)

    O’Toole (R)

    Oroho (R)

    Pennaccio (R)

    Ruiz (D)

    Singer (R)

    Stack (D)

    Sweeney (D)

    Van Drew (D)

    Whelan (D)

    Voting NO:


    Buono (D)

    Codey (D)

    Cunningham (D)

    Gill (D)

    Girgenti (D)



    Gordon (D)

    Greenstein (D)

    Lesniak (D)

    Sacco (D)

    Sarlo (D)



    Scutari (D)

    Smith (D)

    Turner (D)

    Vitale (D)

    Weinberg (D)


    Quigley pushes for online voter registration

    Along with Assemblymembers Riley and Chivukula, Assemblywoman Joan Quigley is pushing legislation that would allow for online voter registration:

    The measure (A-4189) would create an online voter registration form, hosted on a secure site within the Department of State’s Web site, that would allow residents to register to vote, change their voting address after a move or change their name in the voter file, all from a computer.  Before registering or making a change, an individual’s identity would be confirmed utilizing the digital signature found on the state’s new digital driver’s licenses.

    Here is the video press release on the bill the Assembly Majority office put out:

    Quigley makes the argument that of all the things we can do online from the comfort of home, we can’t register to vote because NJ is “stubbornly rooted in the past.” She says making it easier to register may be what we need to get more people to get out and vote. I personally think you need to give people something to vote for once you get them to register too, but that’s a separate issue.The legislation has not been assigned to a committee as of yet and there is also no Senate counterpart yet from what I see. What do you think of the idea of utilizing online voter registration?

    Are you registered to vote?

    The deadline for registering to vote is fast approaching this Tuesday. This is pretty cool, the Corzine campaign put out a picture of a 75 year young Cape May resident registering to vote for the first time:

    Registering to vote for the first time - Cape May, NJ - 10/11/2009

    Good for them. There’s no time like the present to start participating in the process of choosing your leaders. People that aren’t sure if they are registered can check at NJvotefromhome.com and if they are, it lets them apply to vote by mail. If you’re already registered, will you be voting by mail or do you still prefer to go vote on election day?

    3.65 million NJ votes cast

    It’s a new record:

    According to figures compiled by the Secretary of State’s Office, more than 3.65 million people cast ballots in the Garden State.

    That broke a record set in 2004 when 3.63 million voted in the race between John Kerry and George W. Bush.

    From the Division of Elections, McCain’s highest vote total from a county was Bergen with 174,526 votes. Obama’s best county was Essex with 215,373 votes, though he also pulled another 208,410 from Bergen. Despite the turnout numbers, we didn’t set all the voting records:

    But Tuesday’s results were far short of a record in terms of percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots. About 67 percent of registered New Jersey voters cast ballots, according to preliminary calculations; when provisional and other ballots are counted, the figure could reach 70 percent.

    The record was 91 percent, set in 1960, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. On several other occasions, turnout percentage was in the mid- to high 80s.

    I can’t even imagine 91% voter participation.   Still, those are some pretty impressive turnout numbers. We’ll have to look for the demographic breakdowns to learn more about the make up of the voters.