Despite questions on cost, plan to expand voting in N.J. advances

A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced a measure that would allow voters to cast their ballots at designated polling places up to 15 days before an election.

Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi, for one, does not believe allowing more days to go to the polls is worth the added expense.

“Voters now currently can get a paper ballot from their county clerk 45 days before an election, and you can get it by mail, you can come into a clerk’s office,” Melfi said. “So you do have the opportunity, it exists currently, to early vote. It’s not like it’s voting on election day or not voting,”

Sandra Matsen with the League of Women Voters of New Jersey has a different view.

“I think the cost justifies it,” she said. “If you are increasing access to the polls, I believe it will bring more people voting.”

The latest bill calls for three to seven early voting locations in each county, unlike the measure Gov. Chris Christie previously vetoed that would have required additional voting days in every municipality.

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