NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday signed A-5176, which aims to improve voter confidence in the reporting of election results by requiring periodic reporting of vote tallies beginning on the night of primary and general elections until all eligible ballots have been counted and the election is certified.
The required report details will include the number and types of ballots that have been received and, to the extent possible, the number and types of ballots that have been counted and that remain to be counted.
Reporting shall commence by 11:59 p.m. on the day of each primary and general election and shall be updated by 9:00 p.m. every day thereafter until the certification of the election. This information is particularly useful in close races where late-counted mail-in or provisional ballots could determine the outcome of an election.
“In the past few years, we have witnessed attacks on our democracy across the country, resulting in the spread of disinformation and misinformation surrounding our elections,” Murphy said. “In an effort to make election results more transparent in our state, today I gladly signed A-5176 requiring the periodic reporting of election results. Here in New Jersey, our voters can be certain that we are working hard to make sure our elections are conducted in a way that bolsters public confidence in our democracy.”
The bill appropriates $1.5 million to the Department of State, which houses the State’s Division of Elections, for the implementation of these election requirements.
“At a time when incorrect information is undermining faith in our democracy, this legislation underscores the importance of getting timely and uniformly reported election information directly from state and county election officials,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “This new law helps us improve voter trust and understanding that New Jersey elections are free, fair, and secure.”
“The New Jersey Division of Elections works closely with our county partners to administer elections throughout New Jersey,” said Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Lauren Zyriek Enriquez, Acting Director of the Division of Elections. “Standardizing the way we provide information between election day and certification in New Jersey will increase transparency and enhance voter confidence in the outcomes of our elections.”
Upon the certification of the election, election personnel from each county will be required to provide the district level results for the in-person early voting period, the election day vote, and the Vote-By-Mail vote on the county clerk’s website
The prime sponsors for this bill are Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senator Andrew Zwicker.
“There’s nothing more important than securing our democracy and maintaining the integrity of our institutions. I proposed this legislation to ensure transparency in our election procedures and guard against misinformation. This law will standardize clear, timely reporting of progress made in vote counts and concise explanations of what remains to be counted,” Coughlin said. “I want to thank the county clerks, local officials, and advocates who shared their experience and expertise. Thanks to Governor Murphy for signing this into law.”
“A clear and open election process is one of the foundations of our democracy,” Zwicker said. “This law will further ensure that clarity, eliminate confusion about results, and serve to counteract misinformation that circulates on social media and elsewhere.”
“We are fortunate to live in a state that values the rights of every voter, and works to make sure the democratic process is above board and runs smoothly for all,” said Senator Shirley Turner. “This law adds another layer of transparency to one of our democracy’s most time-honored traditions.”
“The consistent and uniform posting of ballots received, counted and remaining following an election—along with a breakdown of vote-by-mail, early voting and Election Day votes—will lead to greater voter trust in our democracy,” said Micauri Vargas, Associate Counsel in the Democracy & Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “In recent years, we have seen how inconsistent reporting can lead to voter confusion and, unfortunately, fester conspiracy theories online. This bill will help address those issues, and we commend the legislature and the Governor for passing and signing this legislation.”
“As we continue to combat dangerous election disinformation, this law provides essential clarity and consistency to election results reporting,” said Jesse Burns, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “The League applauds Governor Murphy and the legislative sponsors for their commitment to improving voter confidence in the democratic process.”
“What Governor Murphy and legislative sponsors Speaker Coughlin and Senator Zwicker have done with this new law is require that everyone has access to the same election information at the same time, which is the gold standard of trust and transparency,” Micah Rasmussen, Director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. “Knowing how many votes have been counted and how many still need to be counted means no surprises. This is a powerful tool against electoral misinformation, which undermines confidence in our elections. Voters can follow the counts for themselves, which will bolster public confidence in our elections.”