New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have created 14 days of in-person early voting in New Jersey.
Governor Christie argued that the bill was too expensive and that the current early voting system in New Jersey is satisfactory. Currently residents may request, complete, and return a “vote-by-mail” ballot 45 days before election day by either sending it through the postal service or by completing it in person. Under the legislature-approved bill, up to seven polling locations in each county would be designated where residents could vote in person using traditional ballot machines.
In his veto, Christie wrote [PDF], “Taxpayers should not have to foot a more than $25 million bill to pay for a hasty, counterproductive, and less reliable system, especially when New Jersey’s current early voting process is reliable and cost effective.” MSNBC points out that in order to pay for this new system, the New Jersey budget of $32.9 billion would only have had to increase by less than one tenth of one percent. In addition, ThinkProgress states that vote-by-mail ballots are less likely to be counted and twice as likely to be rejected by election officials than in-person ballots.
State Senator Nia Gill (D), who sponsored the bill, told reporters “The governor now joins other Republican governors who have sought to stifle the vote and limit access to the polls… Once again he is catering to his national base at the expense of New Jersey residents.”