The state Assembly passed the so-called “motor voter bill” 50 to 23. It would allow automatic voter registration through 18 state agencies for those applying for numerous privileges, including a driver’s license, examination permit, probationary driver’s license or nondriver identification card.
“The motor voter bill promotes democracy. It promotes more people being registered to vote, having the availability to vote. That’s good for the fabric of New Jersey’s life. That’s good for the fabric of Democracy,” said Assemblyman Gary Schaer.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in voter registration by almost a 2 to 1 margin in New Jersey. The Assembly minority leader sarcastically renamed the bill after the democratic governor.
“[It’s the] Phil Murphy voter insurance bill. The present voters are going to see he raised taxes by billions of dollars, so this is a plan to bring some new voters in who may not be aware of the fact that he’s been raising taxes by billions of dollars. So it’s kind of a voter insurance program for him,” said Jon Bramnick.
“We’re saying that the bill is resolving an issue that doesn’t exist,” Tom Kean, Jr. said.
Republicans say already 92 percent of the folks eligible to vote in New Jersey are registered and that the bill would cost the state millions of dollars to implement, and create confusion among 18 state agencies that don’t talk to each other now.
The former clerk of Passaic County, who is now a senator, cited recent voter fraud cases in her opposition.
“It’s no secret that that lack of efficiency at state agencies is a huge problem. Do we really want to make changes that would lead to voter fraud or make wait times even longer?” asked Sen. Kristin Corrado.
“A similar bill to this was presented last year and Gov. Christie vetoed it. He suggested the bill should have been labeled ‘the voter fraud bill,'” said Sen. Samuel Thompson.
One of the primary sponsors of the identical Senate bill was blunt in his criticism of the Republicans.
“The Republicans have also said that this is a bill for those people, and that’s a racist comment to say that this is just about getting more Democrats to vote for Democrats. This give an opportunity for everyone in New Jersey, from High Point to Cape May,” said Sen. Joe Vitale.
Vitale said the motor voter bill will reach Murphy’s desk and it will become law.
One Republican lawmaker said he gets it, the bill gives a huge advantage to Democrats, who already outnumber Republicans in terms of registered voters in New Jersey by almost a million. He said if Republicans had a million vote majority, maybe he would propose the same legislation.