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Voting reform package steams toward full Assembly vote

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The package of bills include provisions on early counting and tweaks to the state’s mail-in voting systems. (Daniella Heminghaus for New Jersey Monitor) A series of voting reforms, including provisions on early counting and tweaks to the state’s mail-in voting system, is headed to the Assembly floor after a voting reform legislative package won approval from the chamber’s appropriations committee Tuesday.

The five voting bills, championed by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), are pitched as a response to moves in other states to restrict when and how voters cast ballots. They will likely face more amendments before the full Assembly votes on them.

“At a critical and harshly partisan time in our country, as others have moved to make it harder not easier to vote and the federal government has often been unable to act decisively, I think we can be exceptionally proud to boast that New Jersey is bucking the trend,” Coughlin said last week.

Voting rights advocates and representatives for New Jersey’s election officials speaking to the committee Tuesday raised concerns about ballot privacy, signature verification, and the chance that some reforms would disenfranchise voters.

Henal Patel, director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s democracy and justice program, opposed […]

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