Key measures continue the Voter Protection Initiative announced in October 2022
For Immediate Release: October 30, 2023
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced measures the Department of Law and Public Safety will be taking during the 2023 general election to help ensure a fair and smooth-running election, to protect the right to vote, and to assist voters, election officials, and law enforcement in resolving voting-related legal matters.
Early voting in the general election began on Saturday, October 28, 2023, and divisions of the Department of Law and Public Safety will play a key role in ensuring free and fair elections in the State of New Jersey.
The Attorney General announced that the Office of the Attorney General and the Division on Civil Rights will continue their Voter Protection Initiative during the 2023 general election. That initiative, which was originally announced in October 2022 and was in place for the 2022 general election and the 2023 primary election, will 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.
As in prior elections, the Attorney General’s Voter Protection Initiative will work with community stakeholders and partners to identify and address voting access issues. The Voter Protection Initiative will operate independently of the attorneys in the Division of Law who represent county elections officials and the Secretary of State.
“We remain committed to ensuring that our elections are free and fair, and that every eligible voter has an opportunity to cast a ballot,” said Attorney General Platkin. “It is our duty to preserve the rights of all New Jerseyans and to protect voters from harassment, discrimination, and intimidation. Anyone who seeks to disrupt the voting process will be held accountable.”
The Department of Law and Public Safety Voting Rights Resources webpage provides New Jersey residents with answers to frequently asked questions regarding the right to vote. The webpage explains how voters can report any problems they encounter during early voting or on Election Day.
In addition to the Voter Protection Initiative, the Division of Law, as it has in previous elections, will make available around the clock a team of dedicated attorneys to advise county elections officials. This aims to facilitate free, fair, and secure elections and swift, unhindered, and equitable access to voting for all eligible individuals, in accordance with New Jersey’s election laws.
In addition, the Department of Law and Public Safety’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (“OPIA”) will monitor claims of voter intimidation, improper electioneering, election 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 will be monitoring for election security threats – both cyber and physical.
In preparation for the 2023 general election, Attorney General Platkin issued the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Guidance for Elections to local law enforcement officials across the State.
It is a criminal offense to solicit or electioneer voters within a “protective zone” as they enter or exit a polling location. The “protective 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.
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 can direct election-related questions to their County Superintendent of Elections and County Board of Elections.
Any person who believes his or her right to vote has been interfered with, or who wishes to report other voting-related problems or concerns, can also call the State’s Voter Information and Assistance line toll-free at 1-877-NJVOTER (1-877-658-6837).
Any member of the public who has been subject to discrimination or harassment in connection with voting may also report the issue to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights through the NJ BIAS online portal, available at https://bias.njcivilrights.gov, or by calling 1-800-277-BIAS (1-800-277-2427). Depending on their urgency, complaints regarding possible discrimination or harassment filed with the Division on Civil Rights may be addressed during the election or after the election.