VRM in the States: New Jersey

New Jersey currently has the Electronic Registration at DMVs component of Voter Registration Modernization in place.

February 1, 2017

On August 18, 2016, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have implemented automatic voter registration at Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) offices in New Jersey. This follows Gov. Christie’s 2015 veto of the Democracy Act, which would have implemented automatic registration and other reforms like online registration and early voting. Gov. Christie’s actions go against a trend of governors signing automatic registration bills into law. In 2015 and 2016, the governors of Oregon, California, West Virginia, and Vermont all signed laws to automatically register eligible citizens through the DMV unless they opt out of registration. The Brennan Center and others encouraged Gov. Chris Christie to sign both the stand-alone automatic-registration bill and the Democracy Act into law and bring automatic registration to New Jersey. Learn more about automatic registration here.

Prior Advances in Voter Registration Modernization 

Automatic voter registration would build on New Jersey’s existing voter registration modernization efforts:  

  • Electronic Voter Registration: New Jersey launched electronic voter registration in 2007, and since then has fully eliminated paper from the process at MVC offices. MVC clerks input voters’ vocal responses electronically and use electronic signatures on file with the MVC. The information is transferred to election officials on a weekly basis.