Christie vetoes bills aimed at expanding voter registration over fraud concerns
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have allowed 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they turned 18 before the general election, and another bill that would have automatically registered someone to vote when they applied for or renewed their driver's license.
Christie said the measures would lead to people voting who shouldn't.
The state had previously passed a law allowing 17-year-olds to register if they turn 18 by the general election.
Christie on Thursday said the proposed legislation "seeks to exploit" that rule and could lead to "unconstitutional" voting.
In his veto of the Motor Vehicles Commission bill, Christie said the law should instead be called the "Voter Fraud Enhancement and Permission Act" because it would "almost certainly register ineligible voters" and absolve anyone who unlawfully voted from punishment.
Christie also was concerned about the bill's projected $1.4 million cost to implement, especially after the MVC spent $1 million on its current system, which allows MVC users to opt into registering to vote.
Access to the ballot box has become a national political issue pitting Democrats who want to make registering and voting easier against Republicans concerned about potential voting fraud.
Christie, however, said he's all for expanding voter registration and pointed out in his MVC bill veto that 92 percent of people who are eligible to vote in New Jersey have already registered.
He also asked the Legislature to ensure that victims of domestic violence and stalking are aware that they can register to vote or update their registration without disclosing their street address.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.