Bill to Allow Sample Ballots to be E-Mailed Released by Assembly Panel

vote elections lkwdLegislation to allow general, primary and school election sample ballots be sent to registered voter by electronic mail, if so requested, was released today by an Assembly panel. The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo.

The bill (A-1489) allows the district board of election or the commissioner of registration, as the case may be, to provide a copy of the general election, primary election and school election sample ballots by electronic mail instead of regular mail to any registered voter in the election district who is eligible to participate in that election, and who requests to receive the sample ballot by electronic mail.

Under current law, such sample ballots must be printed and mailed to each eligible registered voter.

“It’s 2014, and the idea of spending money to print and send sample ballots through the mail seems almost quaint considering how heavily people rely on electronic communications these days, “ said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “With the understanding that many people may of course prefer to continue receiving paper ballots in the mail, I think this bill creates a common sense middle ground. It may not save much money, but any dollar saved is a good thing for taxpayers.”

The bill further provides that the electronic mail address of any voter who requests to receive a sample ballot by electronic mail would not be a government record.

The bill directs the Secretary of State, in collaboration with the election officials in this state, to develop standard procedures to effectuate the provisions of the bill. These procedures would include, but may not be limited to: (1) establishing a method to inform all voters of the opportunity to receive a sample ballot and other materials by electronic mail, and by which a voter can notify election officials of his or her desire to obtain a ballot and other materials by electronic mail in lieu of receiving them by regular mail; (2) maintaining the confidentiality of the voter electronic mail addresses; and (3) providing notice and opportunity for a voter who has requested to receive a sample ballot and other materials by electronic mail to request to again receive the sample ballot and other materials by regular mail.

The bill was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.


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