Democrats advance bill aiming to move general election to October

TRENTON – Democratic state senators advanced legislation Thursday that would change the timeline of the upcoming general election, despite the bill’s inevitable swipe of Gov. Chris Christie’s veto pen.

The bill, A4237/S2858, would change the date of the upcoming general election to sync with the October special election to fill a New Jersey U.S. Senate seat. Democrats introduced the legislation after criticizing Christie for spending $12 million on a special election that will be held less than a month prior to the general election.

The bill cleared the Senate floor following a 22-15 vote.

Democrats argued on the Senate floor the October special election would ultimately suppress voter turnout.

“New Jersey needs to take a stand,” said Sen. Barbara Buono, the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Christie’s challenger in November.

“This is a complete waste of money,” charged Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-22), calling the special election “an embarrassment.”

Republican lawmakers called their colleagues’ comments on the other side of the aisle “extraordinary,” saying the governor’s timeline essentially has the backing of the state’s high court, arguing he acted well within his authority. They also dismissed charges the election would suppress voter turnout.

“Despite the rhetoric being used,” said Sen. Minority Leader Tom Kean, “The fact remains that every single citizen in the state of New Jersey will have the opportunity … to vote in every election.”

Democrats advance bill aiming to move general election to October