Senator Jim Beach (D-6) agreed to hold Senate Bill 3322, which would allow county boards of elections to determine location of ballot drop boxes by majority vote of its members.
“I’ll pull this bill and we’ll work on it a little further,” said Beach.
Testimony by Henal Patel – Director of the Democracy & Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for
Social Justice – prompted Beach, who chairs the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, to reconsider his legislation.
“We urge the committee to address the issues before voting on this bill,” Patel said. “Address issues of disparate [ballot box] placement. Our goal is that ballot boxes are accessible to all voters, especially in the cases of voters in marginalized voters.”
“We’ll work on it, we’ll bring it back and hopefully it will be a fairer bill,” said Beach.
This bill allows county boards of elections to determine the location of ballot drop boxes in each county by majority vote of its members.
Under current law, at least one ballot drop box must be placed at each of the following locations: any county government building in which the main office of the county clerk is located; any municipal government building in which the main office of the municipal clerk is located in municipalities with populations larger than 5,000 residents; the main campus of each county community college; the main campus of each State college or university; and the main campus of each independent four-year college or university with enrollments larger than 5,000 students. The bill removes these specific locational requirements.
Under the bill, each county board of elections would instead be allowed to determine the location of the ballot drop boxes. The locations would require approval by the majority of the board members. If there is a tie in the votes cast by the members of the board of elections, the county clerk would cast the deciding vote. The locations would be in compliance with existing provisions, such as the requirement to establish at least 10 ballot drop boxes and the provisions concerning drop box security, accessibility, population, and geographic distribution.