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How to Vote in this Year’s Election: New Jersey

The process of casting your ballot this year may look a little different. If you are unsure what your options are or just how to vote in whatever way you choose, you are not alone. There has been a lot of discussion regarding mail-in voting versus in-person voting and there are important things you need to know in either case.

Every registered voter in New Jersey will receive a mail-in ballot. If you decide to vote using the mail-in method, there are a number of things you should know. First, be sure to review your entire ballot and follow the instructions carefully. Some New Jersey counties will have ballots with second pages, and there will likely be choices to make on the front and back of your ballot. Missing a choice will not invalidate your entire ballot, but you don’t want to lose the opportunity to vote on each item. It is also very important that you do not rip off the perforated flap on the smaller envelope—this will invalidate your ballot.

After you finish filling out your ballot, you must place it in the smaller envelope and sign in the appropriate place on the perforated certification. Depending on your county, the certification may be pre-filled and will only require your signature. Make sure you complete the certification as instructed on your ballot—if it is incomplete, blank, or the perforated certification has been removed, your vote will not count. Then, be sure to seal the envelope. Any envelope that has not been sealed will be rejected. Finally, place the small envelope into the large envelope and, seal properly, and add your return address to the outside envelope. If you do not use the both the large and small envelopes, your ballot will be rejected.

Finally, you have four options to deliver your completed mail-in ballot: 1) send it by mail, 2) utilize one of the many secure drop boxes located throughout the state, 3) deliver it to your county board of elections, or 4) hand it to a poll worker on Election Day. Your ballot must be postmarked by November 3 and received by 8:00PM on November 10 to be counted.

If you would rather vote in person on Election Day, you can do that too. However, this will not be voting as you are used to. In elections past, voting in person was conducted using ballot machines. This year, unless you have a disability requiring an accommodation, you will be voting using a paper provisional ballot. This is to safeguard to ensure a voter did not already vote by mail. Provisional ballots are counted after mail-in ballots. Polling locations will be open between 6:00AM and 8:00PM on Election Day. The locations of your polling place may have changed. You should receive a postcard from your county prior to Election Day informing you of your updated polling location. This location can also be found at https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/vote-polling-location.shtml.

Also important to note, you can now track your ballot. You can create an account on the N.J. Voter Information System and, from there, check to see if your ballot has been sent to you, if it was received back by the county, and whether or not your ballot has been processed. You can register for that here: https://www.nj.gov/state/elections/vote-track-my-ballot.shtml.

You can find the locations of drop boxes throughout the state at https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1PfiqToYm3k17nWl33Jg4CbIaWpt4z7_v&ll=40.153960566110925%2C-74.7310095&z=8.

You can find the location of your county board of elections at https://nj.gov/state/elections/vote-county-election-officials.shtml

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