Governor Phil Murphy joined a conference call with the Democratic Governors Association, including Governor Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island), Governor Kate Brown (Oregon), and Stacey Abrams, the founder of Fair Fight 2020 Monday morning. The DGA is partnering with Fair Fight to combat voter suppression and try to increase voter registration for wider segments of society.
The DGA is of the position that “Republicans are very focused on waging an attack on our democratic process and actively curtailing access to the ballot box. It’s time to fight back and we’re also doing it because Democratic governors are uniquely qualified and positioned to take the lead on this issue.”
“Being associated with Stacey Abrams is a big deal for the DGA and for us,” Murphy, the incoming DGA chairman, said. “There’s no question democracy is under attack across the country.” He said that Democratic governors can be the “strongest check against an unrelenting Republican effort” to curtail the right to vote. The New Jersey Governor said that there were two key points behind the new partnership. The first was to “put a spotlight on the attacks that are being waged on our democracy” and the second would be to “act as a collaborative resource for Democratic governors to help promote successes” or what he described as a “sharing of best practices”.
Governor Kate Brown touted the successes in Oregon in increasing the ease with which voters can register, asserting that Oregon is now one of the most voter-friendly states in the country.
Abrams said that she was “thrilled Fair Fight 2020 has partnered with DGA. We know voter suppression is insidious” and said the partnership would work “in states where the right to vote is still under attack, states like Georgia.”
Among the issues regarding expanding voter registration and increasing the number of voters, Murphy mentioned the automatic voter registration option offered through the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and said that he wanted to push through prisoner legislation in Trenton based off of a Nevada example. The controversial bill restored voting rights to released prisoners, something Governor Murphy is eager to replicate in the Garden State. According to the Nevada Secretary of State website, as of July 1, 2019, a bill went into effect, reading, “Under this new law, any Nevada resident who is convicted of a felony is immediately restored the right to vote upon the individual’s release from prison. There is no waiting period or action required by the individual. The restoration of voting rights is automatic and immediate upon the individual’s release from prison, regardless of the category of felony committed or whether the individual is still on either parole or probation.”
Murphy said that the voting age regulations needed to be looked at, saying that he felt if a 17 year old would be 18 at the time of a general election, but was not old enough to vote in a primary, it should be examined to allow those potential voters to cast a ballot in the primary.