Elections


Voting 101:

A Primer for the 2020 Election


This year's election is unlike any we have ever seen.


For the first time, New Jersey is conducting its election almost entirely by mail or by dropped off ballots. 

 

While Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020, most people in New Jersey will have voted prior to that date.
 

There are lots of rules and deadlines as well as potential pitfalls to keep in mind in order to vote successfully this year and have your vote counted.

 

You can find a wealth of information on voting questions at the New Jersey Division of Elections website.

 

Here are the basics.

Mail-in Ballots

How to Vote

  • Make sure you read the directions on the ballot you receive and on the two envelopes that will come with the ballot.
  • One of the two envelopes you will receive with your ballot will be a postage-paid mailing envelope.
     
  • The other envelope has a form on the flap that you will need to fill out and sign. 
     
  • DO NOT REMOVE THE FLAP WITH THE FORM FROM THE ENVELOPE.
     
  • Fill out your ballot by filling in the circles next to the names of the candidates you are voting for. You must use a pen.
     
  • Once your ballot is filled out, you must place it in the envelope with the flap you filled out and signed and seal the envelope.
     
  • You must put your completed ballot in the inner envelope in order for your ballot to be counted.  
     
  • DO NOT REMOVE THE FLAP WITH THE FORM FROM THE ENVELOPE.
     
  • Place the sealed inner envelope in the postage-paid envelope and seal it.


Submitting Your Ballot

Once your ballot is filled out, placed in the signed inner envelope and that sealed envelope is in the outer postage-paid envelope, you have options as to how to to deliver it to your county election officials.

  • You can put the postage-paid envelope in the mail. No stamp is required. Election officials advise that you should mail your ballot as early as possible.
     
  • You can drop the envelope at secure drop boxes that are being set up in various municipalities in counties throughout the state. Here is a list of secure drop boxes by county. Check this link frequently as more drop boxes may be added.
     
  • Ballots can be placed in drop boxes until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. 
     
  • You can deliver your ballot in person to your county Board of Elections. Here is a list of the county election officials where you can find the address for your county Board of Elections
     
  • You can bring your completed ballot to your polling place on Election Day, November 3, 2020 between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Here is a list of polling places by county.
     
  • Only the actual voter is allowed to bring ballots to polling places. You are not allowed to have anyone else bring your ballot to a polling place.
     
  •  You are allowed to have someone other than yourself deliver your ballot to your county Board of Elections or place your ballot in the mail or put it in a drop box.
     
  • That person must fill out a portion of the outer mailing envelope that asks for information on the bearer of the ballot if the bearer is not the actual voter.
     
  • You can track your ballot to make sure it is received and accepted by your county Board of Elections.
     
  • If your ballot is disqualified you will be notified by your county Board of Elections and be told what you need to do to have your vote counted.
     


Voting in Person

While most voters will vote by mail or by putting their ballots in a drop box, there will be limited in-person voting on Election Day between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. 

Here is a list of polling places by county.

  • Voters who vote in person on Election Day will be required to use paper provisional ballots.
     
  • Machine voting will be available for voters with disabilities.
     
  • Provisional ballots that are used on Election Day will be cross-referenced with ballots that are mailed in or put in drop boxes to ensure that voters do not vote twice.

What's on the Ballot?

  • The presidential election tops this year's ballot.
  • Voters in New Jersey also will chose a United States Senator and the state's 12 members of the House of Representatives.
     
  • There are three statewide ballot questions to be decided by voters.
     
    • Public Question 1 is a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to legalize marijuana.
       
    • Public Question 2 is a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to give property tax deductions or exemptions to veterans who did not serve in times of war.
       
    • Public Question 3 is a proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to change the legislative redistricting schedule if census data is delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
       
  • There are two special elections for legislative seats.
     
    • One is to fill the vacant Senate seat in the 25th Legislative District.
       
    • The other is to fill a vacant Assembly seat in the 25th Legislative District.
       

Whether you send your ballot in the mail, put it in a drop box or vote in person, the important and patriotic thing is to make sure you vote.

 

There are lots of options. Plan how you will vote and vote as early as you can.

 

 Please contact NJAJ Director of Governmental Relations Deborah R. Bozarth at dbozarth@nj-justice.org if you have questions.