Analysis: New Jersey election integrity heavily criticized

(The Center Square) – Less than a month after its Democratic governor touted election integrity legislation he signed, New Jersey is ranked by a leading conservative public policy think tank as among the worst states in the country for it.

Only five states were worse than the Garden State, which checked in at No. 45 alongside the state of Washington in rankings by the Heritage Foundation. Vermont was No. 47, followed to the back by Oregon, California, Nevada and Hawaii.

Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama were a solid 1-2-3 at the front end.

States were analyzed on a dozen metrics. In the breakdown, there were 30 points for accuracy of voter registration lists; 21 points for absentee ballot management; 20 points for voter ID implementation; four points for ballot harvesting and trafficking restrictions; and four points for verification of citizenship.

It was three points for each category of access of election observers; identification for voter assistance; vote counting practices; election litigation procedures; restriction of same-day registration; restriction of automatic registration; and restriction of private funding of election officials or government agencies.

A perfect score would be 100 points. New Jersey’s 42 points included 16 of a possible 30 for accuracy of voter registration lists, 10 of a possible 21 for absentee ballot management, and two of a possible 20 on voter ID. Zeroes were posted for verification of citizenship, restriction of automatic registration, and restriction of private funding of election officials or government agencies.

New Jersey got perfect scores, three points each, for access of election observers, and restriction of same-day registration.

The seven bills signed by Gov. Phil Murphy at the end of July and championed as an avenue to “make democracy more accessible, more transparent and stronger” did not have descriptions that appear to help the categories where New Jersey scored zero points; the category for voter ID; or the two categories with perfect scores. Language on voter registration and absentee ballots was included.

In its posting, Heritage said, “The vote is how we guarantee that our government remains of the people, by the people, and for the people. Americans need and deserve elections that they can trust.”

It added, “Americans need and deserve a transparent system in which fraud can be easily detected and false allegations of fraud can be easily dispelled.”

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