New Brunswick, N.J. (September 18, 2019) – Experts at the Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics are available to provide commentary on New Jersey’s latest change to its vote-by-mail law, which requires county clerks to send mail-in ballots to voters who voted by mail in 2017 and 2018.
John Weingart, associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics, and director of the Eagleton Center on the American Governor, said, “County clerks and good-government advocates, among others, should closely monitor the implementation, and Gov. Murphy and the legislature should be prepared to consider legislation to address any problems that surface during the lame-duck session likely to be called in December. With the subsequent 2020 campaigns virtually certain to dramatically elevate levels of competition, intensity of emotion and concerns about fairness, it would be great if New Jersey could in advance at least resolve potential concerns about the integrity of the casting and counting of votes by people who may have previously requested and perhaps cast mail-in ballots.”
Elizabeth Matto, director of the Eagleton’s Center for Youth Political Participation, and associate research professor, said, “There's plenty of research to suggest that electoral laws and practices that lessen the burdens associated with registering and getting to the polls will result in higher rates of participation. In that way, efforts to make the vote more accessible are promising. What's problematic is the confusion and uncertainty that arise when changes are frequent and seemingly done at the last minute. Unfortunately, the confusion and uncertainty that these changes spark are felt hardest by those who are less connected to politics, who consume news at lower rates, or have a limited voting history (such as young adults). There's the danger then that these changes ultimately will frustrate newer or inconsistent voters and deter them from voting successfully, undermining the aim of enhancing accessibility.”
For interviews with Weingart or Matto, reach out to Gabriella Morrone at
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ABOUT THE EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS
The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University—New Brunswick explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. The Institute focuses attention on how the American political system works, how it changes, and how it might work better. To learn more about Eagleton programs and expertise, visit eagleton.rutgers.edu.
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