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NJ Legislators Vote to Officially Allow Electronic Votes in Absentia

Lawmakers regularly let staffers push ‘yes’ or ‘no’ buttons for them, even though law required their physical presence in legislative chambers

statehouse (trenton)
Credit: Amanda Brown

Turns out that the way most folks would define “present” and “absent” didn’t apply to New Jersey’s state Legislature – at least according to state legislators.

The rules say they must be physically present in the legislative chamber for their votes to count. But as originally reported by WNBC, members of the state Assembly frequently had staffers cast electronic votes for them. What’s more, legislators regularly cast electronic votes on behalf of absent colleagues.

In the face of media queries, the Assembly has now amended its procedures for quorums and voting procedures, officially allowing the remote “nays” and “ayes.”

Read the full story and listen to a report by WNYC/NJPR, partners of NJ Spotlight.

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