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Government Aid and Services
You Can Vote in New Jersey’s 2020 Elections Without Leaving Your Home
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Only 100 years ago, women voted in the United States for the first time. Fifty-five years ago, the Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The intention of the Voting Rights Act was to prohibit various requirements and restrictions designed to prevent people of color from voting. Over the years, people have fought and sacrificed their lives to protect our right to vote.

What elections are coming up?

In 2020, we will be voting in the following elections:

  • President of the United States
  • One New Jersey senator
  • All of our representatives in the House of Representatives
  • Various county and municipal positions

These officials play important roles by enacting laws that affect our everyday lives.

You do not have to give up the right to vote because you are unable to leave your home due to being in quarantine, fear of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, or any other concerns. New Jersey has a process called “Vote by Mail” where any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot and vote without appearing at a polling place. You do not have to give any reason why you wish to vote by mail.

What do I need to do to vote from home?

First, you must register to vote if you have not already registered. If you are not certain you are registered to vote at your current address, you can check at Voter Search (from New Jersey Division of Elections).

Is it too late to register?

You must be a registered voter to vote in any New Jersey election, either in person or by mail. The deadline for registration is 20 days before the election in which you wish to vote.

New Jersey’s primary election has been postponed until July 7, 2020. To vote in this primary election, you must register to vote 20 days before the election, or June 16, 2020.

The general election will be held on November 3, 2020. To vote on that day you must have registered before October 13, 2020.

Who can register to vote in NJ?

To register to vote, you must be a United States citizen, a resident of the county where you live for at least 30 days before election day, and at least 18 years old on election day. If you are 17, you can register now, but cannot vote until your 18th birthday. Someone who is incarcerated as a result of a conviction for an indictable offense cannot register to vote. If you have not been convicted, but have pending charges, you can register to vote. If someone has been released from prison, they must register again, even if they have previously registered to vote.

If you have already registered and have not moved, you do not have to re-register to vote. You can check at Voter Search (from the New Jersey Division of Elections) to see if you are already a registered voter.

How do I register to vote?

You must submit a voter registration application before the deadline listed above. There are several places to get this application. The New Jersey Board of Elections website has printable forms for every county. You can visit their website, print out the form for your county, and mail or bring it to your County Board of Elections. The forms on their website are postage paid, so you do not need to have a stamp. The registration forms are available in languages other than English. The languages offered vary, depending on your county. Other places to get an application are:

  • Your County Board of Elections
  • NJ Division of Elections
  • Municipal clerk in your town
  • Motor Vehicle Commission
  • NJ Medical Assistance & Health Services Program
  • WIC (Supplemental Food Programs  for Women, Infants & Children)
  • WorkFirst NJ Programs
  • Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • Office of Disability Services
  • Department of Human Services
  • Armed Forces of the United States Recruitment Offices
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
  • Department of Labor
  • Commission of the Blind & Visually Impaired
  • County welfare offices

You must send in the application with your original signature. Faxed or emailed applications cannot be accepted.

How do I vote by mail?

If you are already a registered voter in New Jersey, you do not have to do anything to be able to vote by mail. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy has decided to send mail-in ballots to all voters who are registered with a political party, and a vote-by-mail application to those who are unaffiliated with any party, or whose registration is inactive.

If, for some reason, you do not receive anything in the mail, you can apply in writing to the county clerk of the county where you live. You can apply by mail up to seven days before election day. For the 2020 primary election, that deadline is June 30, 2020. In-person applications are accepted until 3 p.m. on election day. After that, you would need to apply to a judge to get an emergency ballot. Under certain circumstances, a family member or another registered voter in your county can make this application for you.

You can get the application to vote by mail from your clerk or online at Vote By Mail (from the New Jersey Division of Elections). Your completed form must be submitted to the county clerk for the county where you live. Applications to vote by mail are provided in English and Spanish. Some counties also have vote by mail applications in other languages.

Beginning 40 days before election day, the county clerks begin mailing out the vote-by-mail ballots to people who have applied for them. The ballot will have specific instructions that you must carefully follow to make sure your vote is counted. Your ballot must be received by the post office on or before election day to be counted. If you have already requested a vote-by-mail ballot, you cannot vote at the polls on election day.

On election day, ballots submitted by mail are counted by the county clerk’s office just as if they were ballots cast in the voting machine at the polls.

If you have questions or need additional information about this process, you may call the New Jersey Division of Elections toll free at 1-877-NJVoter. Other information, forms to register, and the application for a vote-by-mail ballot can be found at their website.

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6/2/2020
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