AG’s office announces plans to allow for safe, unadulterated elections

Several key measures by the Department of Law and Public Safety will be in effect as part of a Voter Protection Initiative during the 2023 primary election to help ensure a fair, free and smooth-running election, to protect the right to vote and to assist voters, election officials and law enforcement in resolving any emergent voting-related legal matters, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said.

On Election Day on Tuesday, June 6, and the early-voting period that preceded it, various divisions of the Department of Law and Public Safety, including the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) and Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA), will have a role in ensuring free and fair elections in the State of New Jersey.

“Voting is a cornerstone of democracy. We are committed to ensuring fair elections, resolving voting-related legal matters promptly, and preserving the rights of all New Jerseyans,” Platkin said. “Our dedicated efforts will protect voters from intimidation, discrimination and harassment, holding accountable those who seek to disrupt the process.”

The Department of Law and Public Safety has updated the webpage that provides New Jersey residents voting-related resources and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the right to vote. The webpage explains how voters may report any problems they encounter during early voting or on Election Day.

These efforts advance the Voter Protection Initiative, originally announced in October 2022, into the 2023 primary election. Through it, the Office of the Attorney General and DCR will continue to focus on identifying and addressing any voting rights or civil rights violations, including under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, that may arise during early voting and on Election Day.

Any member of the public who has been subject to discrimination or harassment in connection with voting may report the issue to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights through the NJ BIAS online portal or by calling (800) 277-BIAS (2427).

In addition, OPIA will monitor claims of voter intimidation, electioneering, elections fraud and other criminal violations and will direct reports of election interference to local and federal law enforcement as needed. Also, the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) will be monitoring for election security threats — both cyber and physical.

Platkin also reminds the public it is a criminal offense to solicit or electioneer voters within a “protective zone” as they enter or exit a polling location. The zone extends 100 feet from the outside entrance of any polling site. Attempts to interfere with voters within this zone are usually handled by law enforcement officers from the appropriate agency.

In addition to the Voter Protection Initiative, the Division of Law, as it has in previous elections, will deploy a team of dedicated attorneys who will be available around the clock to address any inquiries from county elections officials. This measure aims to facilitate swift, unhindered and equitable access to voting for all eligible individuals, in accordance with New Jersey’s election laws.

Outside of the Department of Law and Public Safety, the New Jersey Division of Elections website provides a list of county-level election office contacts, as well as other useful elections-related information. Members of the public my direct election-related questions to their county superintendent of elections and county board of elections.

Any person who believes their right to vote has been interfered with, or who wishes to report other voting-related problems or concerns, may also call the state’s Voter Information and Assistance line toll-free at 1-877-NJVOTER (1-877-658-6837).

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.