⚫ Currently, your vote is only accepted on Election Day at a specific site

⚫ A proposal aims to give you more options locally

⚫ Opponents claim New Jersey doesn't have the capacity to make such a leap

New Jersey lawmakers want to make it easier for you to cast your vote on Election Day, by letting you show up at any polling place in town.

A new measure approved unanimously by a Senate panel would establish "The Voter Convenience Act." Should it become law, residents on Election Day would be able to vote at any polling place in their municipality.

The bill also paves the way for election boards to allow for countywide polling stations on Election Day — you can vote at any polling station within the county where you reside.

Example: NJ early voting

Anywhere-in-the-county votes are already taken during the state's in-person early voting sessions. You show up, and an electronic poll book checks you in. Then it tells other poll books in the county that your votes have already been cast.

"This bill will basically just allow us to use the technology that we already have, to its fullest capabilities," said Linda Hughes, speaking on behalf of the New Jersey Association of Election Officials.

According to the association, switching to a more universal model of voting will result in the need for fewer poll workers, although the group said there are no plans to reduce the number of polling locations in a given town or county.

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The proposed law may also result in fewer provisional ballots being cast, as well as a quicker turnaround of results, the group said.

"And I can not emphasize this enough — voters will experience less frustration on Election Day," said Shona Mack Pollock, the association's president.

Opposition to the proposal

Under current law, your Election Day vote is needed at a specific site. One polling place handles the voters of certain election districts.

According to the group Working Together for New Jersey, each Election Day proves that the system isn't perfect — Mercer County issues in 2022, for example — so trying to expand it significantly is a recipe for disaster.

"Major upgrades will be needed to the technical systems that we use now," a member said. "The goal is not simply move as many people through the system as you possibly can. The goal is to have the system work to do what it's supposed to do."

The proposed law was advanced on Monday by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. An Assembly version was introduced on March 11.

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