Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck on Oct. 20 issued updated guidance to police chiefs, sheriffs, and county prosecutors to address the introduction of in-person early voting, and to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballot in the upcoming election safely and without fear of intimidation.
Under a law signed by Governor Murphy in March, the 2021 general election will be the first in the state’s history to include in-person early voting, which will allow New Jerseyans to cast votes at designated early voting locations over the course of nine days. Early voting will take place from Oct. 23 to 31, and Election Day is Nov. 2.
The guidance highlights law enforcement officers’ role in protecting voters from intimidation.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Bruck. “We are committed to ensuring that all eligible New Jersey voters can vote without fear of intimidation or coercion – whether they vote in person or vote by mail, and whether they vote on Election Day or vote early.”
The updated guidance points out that maintaining good order in early voting locations and polling places lies principally with poll workers. At the state level, the Division of Elections within the Office of the Secretary of State is entrusted with election-administration responsibilities.
The guidance underscores that county superintendents of elections and their staffs may remove from any place where an election is being held any person who in any way unlawfully interferes with the conduct of an election. These election officials may call upon law enforcement officers to assist with the arrest or removal of those who refuse to comply.
The attorney general’s guidance is posted at nj.gov/oag/newsreleases21/Election-Guidance-to-NJ-Law-Enforcement-2021-1020.pdf.
Residents with concerns about voting and elections are encouraged to call the Division of Elections at its Voting Information & Assistance Line: 877-NJVOTER (877-658-6837). For more information, visit the NJ Division of Elections Voter Information Portal at nj.gov/state/elections/vote.shtml.