Downgraded Norcross bill for elimination of election superintendent passed in committee

TRENTON – A bill allowing counties to eliminate the superintendent of elections, their deputy, or both was downgraded to a pilot program that will most likely have only two entrants, Camden and Morris counties.

The bill, S2455, allows only two counties to sign up for a three-year pilot in order to find out if cost savings from the position eliminations will have any effect on the delegation of election duties and the sanctity of the election process.

Opponents of the bill are worried it will erode the checks and balances, in terms of both operational and partisan involvements, of elections.

Originally bill sponsor state Sen. Donald Norcross, (D-5), of Camden, was allowing any county with a superintendent to eliminate the position. But he partnered with state Sen. Anthony Bucco, (R-25), of Boonton, to create a lesser version that would allow both of their counties to try the option first, then report back to the Legislature.

The bill passed, 4-0, and Norcross said in a release: “This legislation will give elected officials in pilot counties the option of streamlining positions within county government to create real savings, while maintaining the integrity and oversight of the election process. Moreover, it will help establish best practices for this type of consolidation going forward, as state and local governments continue to seek new and innovative ways to relieve the property-tax burden on our residents.”

The freeholder boards in the pilot counties must adopt an ordinance or resolution to allow for the position elimination, transferring their functions to the county Board of Elections.

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration. Downgraded Norcross bill for elimination of election superintendent passed in committee