Protecting the Right to Vote Post-Sandy
The Christie administration reacted swiftly in administering the 2012 elections that took place one week after Superstorm Sandy. Under the leadership of Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Division of Elections Director Robert Giles, the administration made sure eligible voters could receive ballots through email. Although voters encountered more difficulties than they normally would have, New Jersey officials worked hard to make sure Superstorm Sandy did not wash out people’s votes that day.15
A More Accessible, Responsive Voting Apparatus
The Christie administration has worked closely with voting rights advocates, convening regular meetings that focus on improving elections. It has also responded quickly to reports of voting inaccessibility on Election Day at polling places and when registering voters at state offices. Although Gov. Christie has not supported early voting, the administration took part in a bipartisan commission on the subject.
Vetoing Early Voting
Unfortunately, the efforts to preserve voters’ rights after Sandy did not translate into permanent enhancements to voting rights. Gov. Christie vetoed a measure (S2364) that would have made voting easier by allowing in-person voting for a two-week period before an election, rather than squeezing all voting into one 14-hour workday.16 Six months after Gov. Christie’s veto, a nonpartisan commission convened by President Obama recommended early voting as one way to improve efficiency nationwide.17
Election Day Registration
The ACLU-NJ has sued the Christie administration on the issue of Election Day registration. The New Jersey Board of Elections has the technology and capacity to allow voters to register on Election Day, but it has fought efforts to enact same-day registration.18 This hurts voters who have moved between New Jersey counties or cannot reach their usual polling site, such as was the case with Superstorm Sandy.
Return to Gov. Christie First Term Report Card home
- Gov. Chris Christie gets D+ in Civil Rights and Liberties from ACLU-NJ
- Download a copy of Christie's First-Term Report Card (PDF)
- Gov. Christie Earns Mixed Marks on Civil Liberties During His First Two Years
15 Moore, Martha T., “New Jersey: Post-Sandy voting by e-mail will be secure,” USA Today, Nov. 5, 2012, http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2012/11/05/new-jersey-internet-voting-sandy-election/1684007/
16 Portnoy, Jenna, “Christie vetoes early voting bill, angering Democrats,” The Star-Ledger, May 9, 2013, http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/05/christie_vetoes_early_voting_b.html
17 Izadi, Elahe, “Presidential Commission Recommends Expanding Early Voting, Online Voter Registration,” National Journal, Jan. 22, 2014, http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/presidential-commission-recommends-expanding-early-voting-online-voter-registration-20140122
18 Rizzo, Salvador, “Advocacy groups, students argue N.J. should allow voter registration on Election Day,” The Star-Ledger, April 20, 2011, http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/advocates_challenge_nj_voter_r.html