October 28, 2022

NEWARK – New Jersey Institute for Social Justice representatives today issued the following statements in response to the New Jersey Assembly’s vote to pass A2131, which allows police at polling locations in schools and senior residential centers during the election.

This legislation undermines the current law, which keeps police from coming within 100 feet of a polling location while allowing them to respond in cases of emergency.

“It’s disappointing to see New Jersey’s legislature looking to reactive instead of effective policies – and contracting our democracy at a time when we need to expand it more than ever,” said Henal Patel, Director of the Democracy and Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “It’s unfortunate to see legislators attempting to roll back parts of a good law in favor of one that doesn’t protect our children and can harm our democracy.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.

“Whether intentional or not, this law could lead to voter intimidation and suppression,” said Yannick Wood, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “Black and Brown voters often have a different experience of law enforcement than white voters, and shouldn’t have to be fearful when exercising their constitutional right to cast a ballot. We urge the Senate to oppose this shortsighted and misguided bill.”