Dancer introduces election integrity bills ahead of June primary

Dancer introduces election integrity bills ahead of June primary

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced two bills to protect New Jersey’s election process from voter fraud and corrosive outside influence.

“Fair elections are critical to a successful democratic process,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “Eliminating threats to the integrity of our elections, which my legislation will do, builds voter confidence.”

The first bill (A3441) upholds the state constitution by requiring voters in New Jersey elections to be citizens of the United States and prohibiting elected local government officials from acting to extend eligibility to non-citizens. Additionally, local government officers who violate their oath of office will be subject to fines per the local government ethics law.

“Specifying in law that only citizens may vote serves to protect our state and local elections,” Dancer explained.

As of January 2022, 15 municipalities across the country allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections, according to Ballotpedia. Eleven of those towns were located in Maryland, two in Vermont, one in New York City, and the other was San Francisco, California. Although the U.S. Congress passed a law prohibiting noncitizens from voting in federal elections in 1996, it did not address state or local elections.

Another bill, which was introduced Thursday, prohibits the use of private funding for public election administration purposes.

“In 2020, there was unprecedented injection of hundreds of millions of private dollars into governmental election agencies, which rightfully raised many eyebrows and eroded public trust in our election system. Government employees responsible for ballot counting and registering voters must be protected from corruption and outside influence,” Dancer said.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan gave $419 million to two nonprofit organizations that disbursed grants in 2020 to more than 2,500 election departments in 49 states ostensibly to help pay for ballot-counting equipment, expanded mail-in voting, and poll workers, among other things. A Wisconsin state investigation found at least one privately paid “grant mentor” determined which ballots would be counted and which would not. A former federal election official called the financing a “carefully orchestrated attempt” to influence the 2020 vote.

“I agree with Suffolk University Professor Rachael Cobb, who said private funding of election administration over time is ‘corrosive’ and ‘sullies’ the election,” Dancer concluded.

Dancer’s bill also establishes penalties for government agencies and employees that use private funds and personnel to prepare, administer or conduct elections. The bill is based on legislation enacted in 11 states, including Ohio, Arizona and Indiana.