In New Jersey, voting is free, but if you vote by mail, you may end up spending $1.20 per vote — the cost of one stamp for your absentee ballot application and another for the ballot.
However, two legislation passed by an Assembly committee today could change that. The Assembly State and Local Government Committee voted unanimously to adopt legislation mandating prepaid postage on absentee ballot envelopes and ballot applications.
This is already the case in numerous New Jersey counties, most notably in Democratic bastion Camden County, which has the highest mail-voting rate in the state. The laws passed today, however, would standardise free voting by mail for all New Jersey voters.
Before the votes, Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer (D-Montgomery), a supporter or co-sponsor of both proposals, stated that removing the barrier of paying for stamps was a step toward a healthy democracy.
Jaffer said that people should not be obliged to pay to vote. This law offers an opportunity to expand voting rights for New Jersey residents and create a more representative government.
The bipartisan character of today’s votes – two Republicans backed both proposals – bodes well for the future of the legislation, but this is just the beginning of the process; the bills have yet to be heard in Senate committee.