Supporters said they believe the changes will bring clarity to the reporting of election results and restore faith in the elections process. (Photo by New Jersey Monitor)
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law Thursday that will make reporting of election results more uniform statewide.
Supporters said they believe the changes will bring clarity to the reporting of election results and restore faith in the elections process that may have been undermined by recent claims of widespread voter fraud nationwide. It won nearly unanimous support in the Legislature.
“A clear and open election process is one of the foundations of our democracy,” Sen. Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex), prime sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. “This law will further ensure that clarity, eliminate confusion about results, and serve to counteract misinformation that circulates on social media and elsewhere.”
Under the new law, county clerks will be required to post election results online by 11:59 p.m. on the day of primary and general elections and continue to post them daily by 9 p.m. until all the ballots are counted and the election is certified.
Murphy said the law will “make sure our elections are conducted in a way that bolsters public confidence in our democracy.”
The lack of uniformity in how the state’s county clerks report election results was evident in November 2021, when Murphy and the Legislature were on the ballot. The way some counties reported their results made it appear on election night as though Murphy was trailing in his bid for reelection against Republican Jack Ciattarelli. Murphy won by three points, and Ciattarelli never claimed there was voter fraud.
Under the new law, clerks and county elections boards must disclose the number of voting machines used and whether they were used for early voting or on Election Day. They must also disclose, to the extent possible, the number and type of ballots that are counted and have yet to be counted.
Upon the election certification, county staff must provide district-level results broken by early in-person votes, Election Day machine votes, and mail-in votes.
The bill appropriates $1.5 million to the Department of State, which oversees elections statewide, to help implement the new requirements.
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