by Cody McLaughlin - Tuesday, November 19, 2019
New Jersey, the same state where the governor seems locked in an all-out war with the state’s hunters over the scientifically-backed bear hunt, may soon be automatically registering hunters to vote.
After a call by Doug Steinhardt, the chairman of the N.J. Republican State Committee, Republican Assemblyman Ron Dancer introduced legislation modeled after the state’s recently-passed “motor voter” legislation, which automatically registers people at the Department of Motor Vehicles to vote, and extends that same protocol for those who purchase hunting, fishing and trapping licenses through the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife or its license agents.
Proposal Gaining Steam
Steinhardt recently called on the legislature to pass this legislation in answer to the legislature declaring that motor-voter registration would “re-enfranchise” voters, saying “Automatic voter registration should be expanded to people who purchase hunting and fishing licenses, business licenses or construction permits, not just the demographics to whom you hope to sell your seats.”
“Automatic voter registration should be expanded to people who purchase hunting and fishing licenses, business licenses or construction permits, not just the demographics to whom you hope to sell your seats.
Assemblyman Dancer (R-Plumstead) said in a statement to the Burlington County Times, “If we really want to increase voter participation, we should expand the number of agencies that offer voter registration.”
Hunting groups have come out in favor of it, with the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance expressing support for the proposal.
New Jersey Hunters by the Numbers
New Jersey hunters, fishermen and trappers would pose a significant voting block if this legislation were to pass. According to the most recent numbers posted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, there are approximately 794,000 resident hunters, fishermen and trappers in New Jersey. In addition to the economic impact they represent to the state, with $1.26 billion in annual spending and supporting nearly 17,000 jobs, New Jersey sportsmen have become increasingly vocal—even launching a lawsuit against current Gov. Phil Murphy in response to his closure of state lands paid for by hunters to the state’s black bear conservation hunt.
About the Author
Cody McLaughlin is a noted conservationist and conservative thought leader on public policy issues including hunting, fishing, gun rights, free-market tax and wage policy and the environment. He works as a GOP consultant for conservative political causes, managing clients’ digital communications and online presence and as a trustee of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, helping to represent the state’s 1.2 million sportsmen in the political arena.
Follow NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum on Twitter @HuntersLead.
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