This story is being republished under a special NJ News Commons content-sharing agreement related to COVID-19 coverage. Link to full story: whyy.org/articles/your-2020-guide-to-voting-in-new-jersey/
This year’s general election is going to be a lot like the primary held in July, but will be much more complicated since far more people will be voting.
While New Jersey has had mail-in voting as an option for years, this is the first time every registered voter will automatically be sent a ballot. Voters who choose to show up in person will file a provisional paper ballot, not making their choices on a traditional voting machine. Opponents of mail-in voting have organized protests. Some especially dislike having to cast a provisional ballot when they show up to vote.
The Trump campaign and the New Jersey Republican State Committee sued to block many of the election changes that were first adopted by executive order. The legislature codified many of those changes into a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed. But the Trump campaign’s lawsuit continues, most recently over plans to allow elections officials to start counting ballots 10 days before the election.
Registering to vote: The deadline to register to vote in New Jersey is Oct. 13. You must have established residence at least 30 days before the election, be a U.S. Citizen and be at least 18 by Election Day.
The New Jersey Division of Elections has a handy registration information page: state.nj.us/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml.
It goes over online registration options and also has links to county boards of election where paper forms can be obtained.
The state recently restored the right to vote to people who are on probation and parole.
And you can check to see if you are already registered at voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check
Mail-in ballots: Since the state decided to mail a ballot to every registered voter, New Jerseyans won’t have to worry about whether an application for a ballot was received.
The Division of Elections created this site (nj.gov/state/elections/vote-by-mail.shtml) to answer questions about the mail-in voting process.
When will you receive your ballot? Secretary of State Tahesha Way previously said “if it is the second week of October and it hasn’t arrived—do something.” The state website says you should take action if you don’t get one by October 12 by contacting the county clerk.
To count, a mail-in ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and arrive at the county board of elections by November 10.
If you don’t want to rely on the U.S. Postal Service, you can also deliver your ballot to the county elections office by 8 p.m. on November 3 or put it in one of the many secure ballot drop boxes. The state plans to have a centralized list of those locations (nj.gov/state/elections/vote-secure-drop-boxes.shtml), but counties are posting their own information.
Once you send in or drop off your ballot, you can use this site to track it (nj.gov/state/elections/vote-track-my-ballot.shtml) and ensure it gets counted. It requires registering and creating an account.