Governor Murphy Signs Landmark Legislation Expanding Voter Registration and Protecting Voting Rights

Trenton - Governor Phil Murphy today signed into law one of the most expansive Automatic Voter Registration policies in the nation, strengthening and enhancing voting rights for eligible New Jersey residents.

“Today, New Jersey proudly joins a select group of states – 11 plus the District of Columbia – that have enacted automatic voter registration to expand and protect the voting rights of their citizens,” said Governor Murphy. “This stands in stark contrast to those whose only interest lays in restricting voting rights and suppressing voters’ voices. In New Jersey, we recognize our democracy is stronger when more people are given the opportunity to participate and when the residents of our state are empowered to be part of the democratic process.”

The legislation, A2014, requires the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to automatically register to vote any eligible person who applies for a permit, license, or ID card unless the applicant declines the automatic voter registration.  The MVC’s chief administrator is required to ensure that all information necessary for voter registration is collected and promptly transmitted electronically to the Secretary of State, with an exception if a person declined to register to vote. 

Additionally, the bill expands automatic voter registration to any other state agency that collects proof of voter eligibility, as verified by the Secretary of State. Upon the Secretary’s approval, the agency may implement automatic voter registration for eligible individuals. The agency must comply to the extent applicable, as determined by the Secretary, with the procedures for automatic voter registration established in the bill for the MVC. New Jersey is now only the fourth state to take this additional step.

“Today, we are moving New Jersey forward in its effort to register all eligible citizens,” Secretary of State Tahesha Way added. “By using existing technology to advance our voter registration efforts, the State is demonstrating its commitment to increasing civic participation within our current infrastructure, without sacrificing voter integrity or security. As the State's chief election official, I'm working across levels of government to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a safe and secure ballot at election time.” 

“Democracy works better when more people vote,” said Acting Motor Vehicle Commission Chair and Chief Administrator Sue Fulton.  “We are proud to serve the people of New Jersey every day, and we are proud to join the ranks of other states that offer automatic voter registration to their residents. We look forward to working with Governor Murphy to ensure that all eligible New Jerseyans have access to the polls.”

Sponsors of the legislation include: Senators Vitale and Beach, as well as Assembly members Coughlin, Schaer, Eustace, Downey, Benson, Wimberly, McKeon, Jasey, Chiaravalloti, and Sumter.

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