TRENTON – The Assembly passed a bill on Monday that would change the date of this year’s general election from Nov. 5 to Oct. 16 in a bid to keep Republican Gov. Chris Christie from spending $12 million on a special election to fill the remainder of the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term. The proposed legislation won approval by a 44-31-3 and must also pass in the state Senate before it goes to Christie’s desk, where it would likely be vetoed.
“We need to be fiscally responsible,” said Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This October special election, to say the least, is fiscally irresponsible, and if we can change it and save taxpayer money at the same time, it’s worth the effort.”
“The governor needs to do the right thing for the taxpayers and sign this bill,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This decision wastes money, disenfranchises voters and puts the voting process at risk.”
Another bill (A-4249) – the Elections Integrity Act – would allow a registered voter who is eligible to vote at a designated polling place on the day of the special election scheduled for Oct. 16 to be offered the opportunity to vote early, at the same polling place, for the November general election. It was approved 46-32 and also awaits action in the state Senate.
“Gov. Christie can no longer claim with a straight face to be fiscally responsible or a defender of the rights of New Jersey voters,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “Two elections occurring in such close proximity to one another threaten to confuse voters and decrease voter participation. Permitting voters to vote in either the October or November elections will both reduce the costs of the election and maximize voter turnout.”
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