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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law this week that institutes early voting.

The legislation, which passed through a Democratic-controlled state House and Senate, is vastly different than many of the election-related bills that have passed or are close to being passed in other states such as Georgia and Texas, both of which are under Republican control.

Murphy, joined by Georgia voting rights activist and politician Stacey Abrams, signed the bill, which will authorize in-person early voting, on Tuesday.

CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS SUE GEORGIA OVER NEW ELECTION REFORM BILL

“While other states are looking to find ways to keep their citizens from voting, we have consistently worked to ensure that the voices of the people are heard,” Murphy said. “I am immensely proud to sign this legislation today and to remind the nation that our democracy wins when we open the doors of our polling places wide instead of slamming them shut.”

The law requires each county within the state to open anywhere from three to seven polling places in the days leading up to an election, depending on the population of the county. Each voter would be eligible to cast a ballot at any polling location within his or her county. The bill also calls for each early voting day to be open late.

Each early voting site must be open Monday through Saturday from at least 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from at least 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while any voter who is on line at the time scheduled for the closing of an early voting site would still be allowed to vote. The law requires counties open anywhere from 10 calendar days to four calendar days before an election.

The changes come with a hefty price tag, which GOP opponents pointed to as a main concern along with the timeline. It forces most counties to purchase new voting machines and electronic poll books that could exceed $50 million, according to the New York Times.

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Election reform has become a much more politicized and partisan issue following the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump, his campaign, and many in his circle made claims that massive voter fraud handed victory to President Joe Biden. However, election officials, including those in Trump's own administration, defended the integrity of the contest, and the courts roundly rejected dozens of election fraud lawsuits.

After the 2020 contest, several Republican-controlled legislatures are looking to tighten election laws in ways that they argue make it harder for fraud to occur. Democrats argue those efforts are unwarranted and designed to make it harder for minorities to vote.

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Tags: states states election reform president donald trump news new jersey phil murphy 2020 elections 2022 elections voting vote recounts voting machines make it harder early voting site are looking polling places from at least calendar days other states an election phil murphy

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Wyoming Governor Sues Biden Administration over Oil and Gas Contract Cancellations

by Chris Woodward

 

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon is again taking the Department of Interior to court. The governor has filed a second federal lawsuit against the department relating to a Bureau of Land Management decision to pause oil and gas lease sales. In a statement, the governor called the litigation timely and vital to the interests of people living in his state.

“Wyoming’s energy resources can help power the nation and bring down costs at the pump,” said the governor. “BLM’s decision to cancel lease sales sure seems to be a violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law, (and) I firmly believe the pause in lease sales was politically driven and not based in law or fact.”

The first lawsuit challenged the Biden administration’s actions in First Quarter 2021, halting federal oil and gas leasing in Wyoming. A district court later ruled Secretary Deb Haaland’s decision was lawful. However, it did not consider whether other cancelations were a violation. The new lawsuit involves paused sales that Gordon said should have taken place in the second and third quarters of 2021 and the third quarter of this year.

“BLM went 18 months without a single oil and gas lease sale and has yet to resume regularly scheduled quarterly lease sales,” said the governor’s office.

In April, Secretary Haaland said Interior’s actions are meant to take into account things such as local communities, the environment, air quality, and water.

– – –

Chris Woodward is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Mark Gordon” by National Governors Association. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Clyde Robinson. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

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