Yesterday, Governor Christie vetoed the New Jersey Democracy Act, a comprehensive voting reform bill geared toward empowering the voices of New Jersey residents.
I worked with a New Jersey coalition to pass this bill, and we watched it quickly move through the state legislature and reach Governor Chris Christie’s desk this past June. Even though the bill was supported by the vast majority of Governor Christie’s constituents, the bill then languished for over half a year before yesterday’s veto.
The New Jersey Democracy Act is incredibly comprehensive, including in-person early voting, online voter registration, pre-registration for 16 and/or 17 year olds, enhanced language accessibility standards, expanded provisions for overseas and military voters, and perhaps most significantly, automatic voter registration at Division of Motor Vehicles offices. However, none of this is particularly novel—all of the reforms proposed in the bill already operate across the country without controversy or fanfare. In fact, with this veto, Governor Christie prevents New Jersey from becoming the third state in the country to enact automatic voter registration after Oregon and California.
The veto of this bill silences the voices of potential voters across the state of New Jersey. The Democracy Act passed as a pro‑voter initiative, but yesterday’s veto will achieve the opposite.