The Governor of New Jersey and current candidate for the GOP nomination for President Chris Christie vetoed legislation on Monday that would have expanded voter participation in the state of New Jersey. Estimates between 1 million and 1.6 million new voters would have been added to the voting rolls had the Christie signed the bill.
New Jersey is one of the worst states in the union when it comes to voter participation. “The Garden State” currently ranks 39th in both percentage of registered voters and voter participation of eligible voters. The state does not allow in-person early voting, but requires citizens who wish to cast an absentee ballot to apply early at their local election office..
Dubbed “The Democracy Act” the potential law would have also solved the problem of lack of accommodation for non-English speaking voters in many districts. Currently materials only have to be printed in Spanish if 10 percent of the county or voting districts speak it as their primary language, but the bill would require election materials to be made available to voters in multiple languages without other stipulations.
The rationale for the veto given by Christie was he did not want to increase the chances of voter fraud in his state. Supporters of the bill have said this is just another example of GOP voter suppression. Historically higher voter turnout favors the Democratic Party and many believe that the nationwide effort not to expand voting days, times as well as making it easier for young people to vote is done simply to retain republican seats.
The Democracy Act would have not only expanded voting times but would have automatic voter registration for people who receive driver’s licenses or state ID. California and Oregon are the only two states that currently have automatic voter.