A new series of bills from three state Republican lawmakers targets voter fraud and aims to “protect the integrity of elections” in New Jersey.
The legislative proposals from State Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths include measures requiring New Jersey voters to show a form of ID at the polls (A134/S3393) and a bill stipulating that the winner of the Electoral College is based on state election results, as is current practice, and not the national vote (A161/S2653).
The GOP lawmakers, all of whom represent New Jersey’s 24th legislative district, are pushing for tougher voting laws and measures to guard against alleged election fraud as Republican-led legislatures in hotly contested states like Georgia, Florida and Texas seek changes in their respective voting and election requirements on the heels of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory against then President Donald Trump.
No widespread voter fraud has been uncovered in the 2020 presidential contest, despite Trump and his supporters mounting unsuccessful legal challenges in various states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
It is unclear whether the proposals can gain any traction, given that both New Jersey’s state Senate and Assembly are controlled by Democrats.
“We listened to our constituents and worked with election reformers from around the country,” Oroho said in a May 6 press release. “These are constitutional, common-sense measures, in place in many states already, that both protect the integrity of elections and help to restore voter confidence in our election process.”
The election-focused bills include some written for introduction by Oroho, Space and Wirths and other bills they are cosponsoring.
“The Democrats in Trenton are completely fine with New Jersey residents having to provide a legal photo identification for everything from buying cold medicine to renting a car or even to testify at the State House, but then decide it’s too much of a burden on someone to prove you are who you say you are when you vote?” Space said in the release. “That doesn’t make any sense!”
Space added that ensuring a fraud-free voting system is the government’s obligation.
“Integrity of the Vote”
The Republican trio called out Democratic lawmakers for not passing legislation “to protect the integrity of the vote” and for the Democratic assembly’s March 25 passage of a bill (A4655) that would bar police officers from coming within 100 feet of polling sites during elections. That measure awaits action in the state Senate.
Wirths who spoke against the bill during floor debate called it “the most outrageous piece of legislation that I have seen since being elected.”
Additional bills in the package would:
- Remove the 48-hour provision for acceptance of ballots postmarked by election day and stipulate that mail-in ballots received after the polls close would not be counted (S185/A119);
- Provide for agreement between the Secretary of State and the Judiciary’s Administrative Office of the Courts to match information in New Jersey’s statewide voter registration system with certain jury records in order to identify and remove ineligible non-citizen voter registrants from the system (S3395/A553) ;
- Require electronic voting system vendors to disclose financial ties prior to electronic voting system approval by New Jersey’s secretary of state. (A1670 already passed the Assembly without opposition) (S2858/A1670);
- Repeal the automatic vote-by-mail designation and require those voting by mail to complete an application for a mail-in ballot each calendar year (S3391/A2028) ;
- Prohibit mail-in ballot outer envelopes from containing political affiliation or designation that is visible to the public (S3392/A3994);
- Require the Secretary of State to create a website for voters to report irregularities regarding mail-in ballots and establish a commission to study “vote by mail” processes and procedures (S3109/A5092);
- Require the Secretary of State to establish a voter list maintenance and crosscheck program and to report annually on certain voter registration data to the governor and the Legislature (S3297/A5097);
- Require the commissioner of registration to move voters with undeliverable mail-in ballots to inactive file and remove such inactive voters from the statewide voter registration system following failure to vote in two consecutive federal general elections. (S2936/A5099)
Voting Fraud Task Force Proposal
Other bills highlighted by Oroho, Space and Wirths would:
- Require the state attorney general to create a voting fraud task force (S3053/A5205);
- Prohibit approval of voting machines or voting systems from foreign vendors or if provided by a domestic vendor that exports technology overseas, “or due to major non-citizen ownership” (S3300/A5206) ;
- Transfer the Division of Elections from New Jersey’s Department of State to the Department of Law and Public Safety, designate the attorney general as the chief election official, and require two bipartisan co-directors (S3353/A5259); and
- Propose a constitutional amendment to provide registered voters with the right to cast their ballots in person on Election Day and require a mail-in ballot request before a voter can receive a mail-in ballot (SCR136/ACR197) .
Oroho referenced the 2020 Presidential election in his comments on the Republican bills: “Many of these ideas came to Republican legislators from our constituents who were dismayed with how the 2020 election was conducted. It is our duty as legislators to ensure that each, eligible and legal voter can vote and that those votes are protected from fraud and manipulation.”