Assemblywoman   AURA K. DUNN
District 25 (Morris and Somerset)
Requires do not forward label on mail-in ballot envelopes; allows mail-in voter to cure mail-in ballot due to missing or detached certificate; requires certain voter data be entered into voter file within 30 days.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning mail-in ballots and amending and supplementing P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-1 et seq.) and amending R.S.19:31-16.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1.  (New section)  a.  When an official mail-in ballot is mailed to an address at which the listed voter no longer resides, the person residing at that address may return the ballot to the county clerk of the county in which the ballot was issued.  The person residing at that address may return the unopened official mail-in ballot envelope in person to the county clerk or deposit the envelope in a ballot drop box or any outgoing United States Postal Service mailbox or letter collection box with a return to sender notation affixed thereto.  The person residing at that address may write one of the following notations on the front of the unopened official mail-in ballot envelope:
(1)  Return to Sender - No Longer at this Address;
(2)  Return to Sender - Moved out of State or County;
(3)  Return to Sender     Deceased; or
(4)  any other notations deemed appropriate by the Secretary of State.
b.  The Secretary of State shall prepare and transmit, within 60 days of the effective date of this act, P.L.     , c.     (C.     ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), instructions on how to return an unopened official mail-in ballot envelope to sender.  The instructions prepared by the Secretary of State shall be contained in any printed or electronic voter information notices or educational materials provided or disseminated by the Department of State.   The New Jersey Division of Elections and each county clerk and board of elections in this State shall also make available on their websites, if one exists, the instructions prepared by the Secretary of State.
2.       Section 3 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-3) is amended to read as follows:
3.  a.  A qualified voter shall be entitled to vote using a mail-in ballot:
(1)  in all future elections, including general elections, held in this State, in which the voter is eligible to vote; or
(2)  in any single election held in this State.
The qualified voter who chooses the option to vote using a mail-in ballot in all future elections shall be furnished with such a ballot by the county clerk without further request on the part of the voter and until the voter requests in writing that the voter no longer be sent a mail-in ballot.
The mail-in ballot application form prepared by the Secretary of State shall present the two options in the order provided above.  The mail-in ballot application shall also provide spaces for the voter's telephone number and email address, including language informing the voter that this contact information will be used to contact the voter concerning the acceptance or rejection of the ballot, and how the voter may cure a defect.  A voter's telephone number and email address shall not be subject to public disclosure and shall not be considered a government record.
The additional direct expenditures required for the implementation of the provisions of this subsection as amended by section 1 of P.L.2018, c.72 shall be offset pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2019, c.459 (C.19:63-29).
b.  Not less than seven days before an election in which a voter wants to vote by mail, the voter may apply to the person designated in section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5), for a mail-in ballot.  The application shall be in writing, shall be signed by the applicant and shall state the applicant's place of voting residence and the address to which the ballot shall be sent.  The Secretary of State shall prepare a mail-in application form and shall have the authority to promulgate any rules and regulations the secretary deems necessary to effectuate the purposes of this subsection.
c.  Any voter wanting to vote by mail in any election may apply to the person designated in section 5 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-5) for a mail-in ballot to be sent to the voter.  A voter who is a member of the armed forces of the United States may use a federal postcard application form to apply for a mail-in ballot.
d.  Any voter who fails to apply for a mail-in ballot before the seven-day period prescribed in subsection b. of this section may apply in person to the county clerk for a mail-in ballot up to 3 p.m. of the day before the election.
e.  A person voting by mail-in ballot who registered by mail after January 1, 2003, who did not provide personal identification information when registering pursuant to section 16 of P.L.1974, c.30 (C.19:31-6.4) and is voting for the first time in his or her current county of residence following registration shall include copies of the required identification information with the mail-in ballot.  Failure to include such information with the mail-in ballot shall result in its rejection.
f.  The county clerk shall not transmit a mail-in ballot for any election to any person who: is deemed by a county commissioner of registration to be an inactive voter; or notifies the clerk in writing that the person no longer wishes to receive such a ballot for any election; or is no longer eligible to vote and whose registration file has been transferred to the deleted file pursuant to R.S.19:31-19.
g.  The envelope in which the official mail-in ballot is sent shall be clearly marked    Do Not Forward. Return to Sender. Return Postage Guaranteed.
h.  Any mail-in ballot that is sent to a qualified voter and that is returned to the county clerk for any reason shall be forwarded to the commissioner of registration within 30 days from the date the mail-in ballot is returned to the county clerk, who shall so note the return in the voter record of that voter.   If the reason the mail-in ballot is returned is due to the death of the qualified voter, the commissioner of registration shall determine if the death was filed by the officer in charge of records of death in the municipality in which the decedent resided as prescribed in R.S.19:31-16 and shall undertake the procedures provided in that section.
(cf: P.L.2020, c.70, s.8)
3.  Section 12 of P.L.2009, c.79 (C.19:63-12) is amended to read as follows:
12.   Each county clerk shall send, with each mail-in ballot, printed directions for the preparation and transmitting of the ballots as required by this act.  The directions shall be printed in such manner and form as the Secretary of State shall require, together with two envelopes of such sizes that one will contain the other.   The directions prepared by the Secretary of State shall inform the voter that the status of the voter's mail-in ballot may be checked using the free-access system provided in section 5 of P.L.2004, c.88 (C.19:61-5).
The outer envelope shall be addressed to the county board of elections of the county in which is located the home address of the person to whom the mail-in ballot is sent, as certified by the county clerk.   At the discretion of the county clerk, the outer envelope may be a postage paid return envelope.   On the outside and front of each outer envelope, there shall be printed or stamped the following:
To protect your vote:
IT IS AGAINST THE LAW FOR ANYONE EXCEPT YOU THE VOTER TO MAIL OR TRANSPORT T