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Trenton Talk

October 29, 2019

A Publication of the New Jersey Association for Justice, Inc. 

 

 

Vote by Mail:
What it Means & How it Works

Election Day is officially November 5, 2019. But voting has already begun for those who requested Vote by Mail ballots.

Thousands of ballots have been mailed to voters and county election officials are already receiving filled out ballots.  Campaigns are reporting heavy Vote by Mail returns in key districts.

The rules surrounding Vote by Mail ballots are confusing and can affect if or how you may be able to vote.

 Under New Jersey law, any registered voter can request a Vote by Mail ballot for any reason by submitting an application to their county clerk.

You can download an application already addressed to your county clerk from the New Jersey Division of Elections website.
 

The application permits a voter to apply for a Vote by Mail ballot for a single election or for all future elections. If you select Vote by Mail for all future elections and later want to change your status, you need to write to your county clerk and request the change.

According to the Division of Elections, Vote by Mail applications that are mailed in must be received by the county clerk's office at least seven days before the election. Voters can apply for a Vote by Mail ballot in person at the county clerk's office up to 3:00 p.m. the day before the election.

Voters using a Vote by Mail ballot must return the ballots to their county Board of Elections. Ballots that are mailed in must be postmarked no later than Election Day and must be received by the Board of Elections no more than 48 hours after the polls close on Election Day.

Vote by Mail ballots can be submitted in person and must be received by the Board of Elections before the polls close on Election Day.

The Vote by Mail application states that once a voter applies for a Vote by Mail ballot that voter is not allowed to vote in person at their regular polling place on Election Day.

But the Division of Elections says voters who apply for Vote by Mail ballots can vote at their regular polling place using a Provisional Ballot provided they meet certain criteria.

 

According to the Division of Elections , voters must use a paper Provisional Ballot if the polling book indicates that they applied for a Vote by Mail ballot and they tell the poll workers the following:

  • They did not apply for one; or
  • they applied for a Vote by Mail ballot, but did not receive it; or
  • they received the ballot but did not return it.

All voters can call 1-877-NJVOTER (1-877-658-6837) after the election to find out whether their Vote by Mail or Provisional ballot was counted or the reason it was rejected.

Just as a reminder, all 80 seats in the Assembly and one state Senate seat are up for election this year.

There are multiple ways to vote. Please make sure you cast your ballot.