TRENTON, N.J. – To restore voters’ faith in democracy, Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips introduced a bill on Monday that permits county election officials to count mail-in ballots as they are received instead of waiting until Election Day.
“When vote tallies are changing drastically, or flipping in favor of one candidate over another, because of a delay in counting mail-in ballots, voters lose trust in the security and integrity of our elections,” DePhillips (R-Bergen) said. “This year’s gubernatorial and legislative elections really underscored the importance of correcting the process.”
The law that permitted early in-person voting for the first time also barred county clerks from adding up early in-person and mail-in ballots until Nov. 2, Election Day. As a result, the gubernatorial race and several legislative contests were too close to call for days as officials tallied mail-in ballots. In Bergen County alone, 41,000 mail-in votes were not included in the Election Night tally – leading some voters to allege fraud as results flipped once the Democratic-favored vote-by-mail ballots were taken into account.
“It is incumbent upon officials to fix the problems that lead to conspiracy theories. Earlier counting of mail-in votes will help address some of this year’s hang-ups,” DePhillips said.
DePhillips’ bill (A6143) requires county boards of elections that start canvassing vote-by-mail ballots before Election Day to ensure the security of the process and confidentiality of the ballots until polls close.