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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
November 7, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General

 

Lee Moore
609-292-4791

 

AG Harvey Announces Measures to Safeguard Election, Urges Eligible Citizens to Vote

NEW BRUNSWICK – Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced today that approximately 600 Deputy Attorneys General will be on duty throughout the State tomorrow, Election Day, to help ensure a fair and smooth-running election, and to assist county election officials in resolving any voting-related legal issues as they emerge.

At a press conference this afternoon held on the campus of Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Attorney General Harvey explained that Deputy Attorneys General from the Division of Law will be on duty from 6 a.m. until the close of the polls at 8 p.m. to handle any court applications, and to provide timely legal advice to New Jersey’s county Superintendents of Election and Boards of Election on emergent, voting-related legal matters.

In addition, Harvey noted, a total of 54 Deputy Attorneys General have been assigned to act as polling place observers in Edison, Middlesex County, where concerns have been aired by members of the Indian and Asian communities about potential communication problems that might be experienced when interacting with those staffing the election.

“Our unwavering commitment is to do everything we can to ensure that every eligible New Jerseyan who seeks to vote on Election Day has the opportunity, and that every voter’s voice is counted,” said Harvey, who serves as New Jersey’s Chief Election Official. “Although the most common problems tend to involve voter eligibility, and the validity of absentee ballots, our deputies are prepared to handle legal disputes of any kind. It is vital that any and all voting-related legal problems be dealt with fairly and expeditiously, and that the right of all New Jersey voters to a free and fair election be protected.”

AG Issues Reminder on Provisional Ballot Option

Attorney General Harvey issued a reminder to any eligible New Jerseyan who has registered to vote, but who has not received either a sample ballot or voter registration card by Election Day, that he or she is entitled to vote by provisional ballot at the polling place.

The same instruction applies to any registered voter who is advised, upon arriving at the polling place, that he or she is designated in the polling book as an absentee ballot recipient, and disputes that information. The ability to request and receive a provisional ballot also applies to any registered voter who is told, upon arrival at the polling place, that his or her name is not in the polling book.

Harvey said that provisional ballots will, as is routinely the case, be made available at polling places to voters who have recently had a change of address within a county, but failed to notify their county Commissioner of Registration. He added that all provisional ballots cast will be subjected to registration verification by the counties before being counted, a process that, depending on the volume of provisional ballots, could take days.

Electioneering

Attorney General Harvey explained that it is a criminal offense to solicit or electioneer voters as they enter or exit a polling establishment. He said a “protective zone” extends to 100 feet from the outside entrance of the polling place. Any attempts to unlawfully interfere with voters within this zone are usually handled by appropriate law enforcement officers. Harvey added that persons who believe they have been the victim of any kind of attempt to interfere with their right to vote should contact the State at either 1-877-NJVoter or (609) 292-9302. Members of the public can also address election-related queries to their county Superintendent of Election and county Board of Election. A list of county-level election office contacts can be found on the Division of Elections Web site, www.NJElections.org . The Web site offers useful information about the voting process and voting rights, and those who wish to provide information concerning the disabled accessibility of specific polling sites can do so by filling out an on-line feedback form.

Harvey also noted that the Attorney General’s Office has worked with State Police and New Jersey Transit to ensure that vehicles equipped as mobile polling places are available for deployment throughout the State in the event of an emergency

As of the close of voter registration for this year’s General Election, there were a total of approximately 4.8 million registered voters across New Jersey. This year, for the first time, eligible New Jersey voters who preferred to do so were able to obtain an absentee ballot without meeting specific absentee criteria. All absentee ballots must be submitted to the county board of elections in the voter’s home county by the 8 p.m. close of the polls on Tuesday.

“In the last gubernatorial election, 49 percent of the registered voters in New Jersey came out to vote. That’s fewer than half. As a state, we can do better than that,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Over time, many people in our nation have fought for the cause of equal voting rights for all citizens. That tells us something about the power of the vote. It is a power we should not treat lightly. I urge all eligible New Jerseyans to get out and vote on Election Day.”

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