Legislation that returns the date of New Jersey’s presidential primary election to June, a move that is expected to save millions of dollars in elections-related costs, has been signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie.
The law (S-2883/A-3777) ends the separate presidential primary election held in February and requires, instead, that it be held during the regular June primary on the first Tuesday of the month, as it was prior to 2005.
“New Jersey moved its presidential primary to February with the intent of giving the state a larger role in determining the outcome of the nomination process,” Sen. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), the legislation‘s sponsor, said Monday. “However, when half the states in the country also held earlier primaries, the move was essentially rendered moot. We ended up spending millions of dollars to hold a separate election, without achieving the Election Day advantage everyone had anticipated. Returning the election to the traditional June primary date will create nearly $12 million in taxpayer savings and provide us with the same level of influence we’ve had in the past.”
New Jersey was among 25 states that held their primaries in February during the 2008 presidential election. The cost of the separate election was $11.8 million.
Norcross said he foresees elections-related cost savings in primarily two areas: the expenses of the counties and municipalities which administer the election and the salaries of poll workers conducting the election. Specifically, he said, reductions will be realized in the costs for ballot printing and postage, processing, legal advertising, polling place rental and voting machine delivery. The cost of poll workers' salaries – which are divided between the counties and the state, with the counties paying $75 of each poll worker's salary and the state paying $125 of each worker's salary – will also be eliminated.
“Put simply, this is a common-sense move for the state, and good news for the people of New Jersey,” Norcross said.
The bill was approved unanimously in both the Senate and the Assembly in June.
– TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM