A bill sponsored by Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, which requires district boards of election to report every two hours the number of voters who have voted at each precinct, was signed into law on Friday, August 24 by Governor Phil Murphy.
This bill (A3463) requires the district boards of election to report every two hours the number of voters who have voted at each precinct, and authorizes challengers to request the reported count.
“Both our voters and our candidates deserve transparency at the polls,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling. “We are proud to see this bill signed into law and will continue to work to ensure fair and honest elections.
“Transparency is essential to our election process,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “This bill works to ensure that both voters and candidates have access to results, thus ensuring increased transparency here in Monmouth County.
Under the bill, the district boards of election at each polling place would be required to create and publicly display a notice containing an official count of the cumulative number of voters who have voted at each precinct, and indicating how many voted by voting machine and by provisional ballot. The first notice would be produced two hours from the opening of the polls and updated every two hours until the polls close.
Under current law, certain persons are appointed to act as challengers on election day in each election district for their respective political parties, candidates, or for the proponents or opponents of a public question. Challengers are currently empowered to challenge the right to vote of any person who appears on a challenge list prepared by election officials, or who is suspected to not be entitled to vote. However, challengers are not permitted to challenge, delay, or prevent the right to vote of any person because of that person’s race, color, national origin, expected manner of casting a vote, or residence in a particular ward, housing complex, or section of a municipality or county. Challengers may also be present while votes are being counted and may challenge the counting or rejecting of all or part of any ballot. Challenge procedures, and a challenged voters’ rights and protections, are further established under N.J.S.A.19:15-18 et seq.
This bill expands the powers of challengers by allowing them to ask the members of the district boards of election at each polling place, no more than every two hours, for the official count of how many voters have voted at each precinct. Under the bill, the district boards of election would provide this information as the notice required under section 1 of the bill.
This bill is intended to promote greater transparency in the electoral process by requiring the district boards to report how many voters have voted and by allowing challengers to have access to current turnout information during election day.