One-man-human-traffic-jam and perpetual runner-up at a hot dog eating contest, Chris Christie (Asshole, NJ) vetoed a bill that would have added 1.6 million voters to the roles in New Jersey.
Instead, Christie is keeping the state “stuck in the 1950s” when it comes to voting according to Analilia Mejia, executive director of New Jersey Working Families. New Jersey does not have online voter registration. Those who need to vote absentee are forced to go to an election office to obtain an absentee ballot. As a result, the state ranks 39th in the country both for voter registration and voter turnout. Coincidentally, they also have the honor of ranking last in the number of female Representatives in Congress.
The Democracy Act would have created a two week period for early voting, online registration and made New Jersey the third state to have automatic voter registration. In case it’s not clear enough who Christie wants to keep from voting, the bill also forced counties to translate voting materials into other languages.
Christie brought out the old GOP line that passing the bill would “increase chances for fraud.” In addition to being 100 percent wrong, it’s a strange admission for the head of the state’s government — that voting is just a chance for fraud so more voting (early voting) would be more of a chance for fraud?
Jon Green quite rightly points out on Americablog that this might not have been the outcome if Christie had given up his presidential aspirations.
What’s especially frustrating about this is the fact that Christie may have gone the other way on this bill if he wasn’t still hanging on to his Quixotic presidential ambitions. There’s a Republican primary debate tomorrow evening; if Christie were out of the race by now, and didn’t have to worry about speaking to millions of Republicans who like the idea of making it harder to vote, that wouldn’t matter. But since he’s in the race, he’d have taken a hit with Republican voters by signing the Democracy Act — it may have even been enough to finally get a voting rights question at a Republican debate!
Christie took on Hillary Clinton back in June when she laid out a plan to support comprehensive voting reform and called out Republican candidates who blocked reform measures like a 20 day early voting period. Christie said:
The fact is the folks in New Jersey have plenty of an opportunity to vote and maybe if she took some question some places and learned some things she wouldn’t make such ridiculous statements
Christie should take his own advice and try to figure out why New Jersey ranks at the bottom of pack on voter participation.
Advocates of the bill say it isn’t dead yet. They hope to circumvent Christie by bringing some aspects of the Democracy Act to citizens as a 2016 ballot initiative.
Drink a strong beer (not from NJ) and hope that they are successful.