ACLU lawsuit: Displaced NJ voters should be able to print ballots
A lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to have the same electronic delivery system used to send ballots to overseas and military voters be used for New Jersey voters displaced from their homes due to the pandemic.
Voters with disabilities also have been able to utilize the same method of receiving their ballot in New Jersey, by request, in which emailed ballots can be printed out and mailed back.
The suit filed by the League of Women Voters of NJ and ACLU-NJ requests that the state use a similar mechanism for voters who do not receive their ballots by Oct. 30.
According to the lawsuit, nearly a third of 138 complaints from New Jersey made during July’s primary election to a national voter-protection hotline involved active, registered voters never receiving their ballots in the mail despite “good faith efforts.”
The lawsuit points out a “significant number” of the 40 or so voters had requested their ballots be sent to temporary addresses, including college students whose schools had closed and who instead sought their ballots at family homes.
It also notes that other New Jersey voters are displaced and at temporary addresses due to the economic effects of coronavirus.
The lawsuit, which names as defendants Secretary of State Tahesha Way and Division of Elections Director Robert Giles, was filed in Superior Court in Mercer County.
“As of now, displaced New Jerseyans have to wait at their mailbox in hopes that the ballot they requested will arrive in time. If it doesn’t, they will be disenfranchised,” ACLU-NJ Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero said in a written statement. “The state has an obligation to allow voters to exercise their rights, and today we’re asking the Court to ensure they can.”