By Vin Gopal, Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey
Voting on November 3 will be like no other General Election in our lifetimes so far. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your vote is counted and to ensure that the voting process works smoothly.
With COVID-19 cases in New Jersey topping 190,000, many if not most Monmouth County voters will cast their votes by mail. However, you may still vote in person at a designated polling site.
If you vote in person, you will be filing a provisional paper ballot, which will be counted after the election to make sure that no one can vote twice. Since most voters will have received a mail-in ballot, election officials will need to make sure that those who go to the polls to vote in person have not already voted by mail. The use of provisional ballots will allow election officials to physically check and make sure that a mail-in ballot for an individual has not already been counted. You also may deliver your mail-in-ballot in-person at your assigned 2020 general election polling place as well.
Only about 50 percent of the traditional polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 3. The County Clerk’s Office will mail a notice to active voters listing the polling places by October 23, or you can go to the New Jersey Division of Elections website and enter your address and zip code. Voters with disabilities who need assistance voting should contact the County Clerk’s Office, at (732) 431-7790 or email at email@example.com.
If you are a registered voter in New Jersey, the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office automatically will mail you a vote-by-mail ballot on October 5 that includes a postage-paid envelope for the return of the completed mail-in ballot. There will be no sample ballots mailed this year.
If you are a registered voter and don’t receive your ballot in the mail, you may visit the state’s elections website, nj.gov/state/elections, or call the state’s Voter Protection hotline at 1-877-NJVOTER.
Make sure to sign your completed vote-by-mail ballot and mail it or deliver it in person to the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections, 300 Halls Mill Road, Freehold, NJ 07728. You can track your ballot after you’ve mailed it at the state’s elections website site by setting up a personal New Jersey Voter Registration System account.
All ballots sent through the U.S. Postal Service must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by the Monmouth County Board of Elections by 8 p.m., Nov. 10. If for some reason your ballot was not postmarked, it will still be counted as long as it arrives at the board of elections within 48 hours of the polls closing on Nov. 3.
Or, you can deliver your ballot in person at one of the election drop boxes being set up by the county or to the Board of Elections Office. The drop box locations will be announced soon.
If you are not a registered voter, we urge you to register now, as the deadline for voter registration is October 13. Registration forms are available in English and Spanish at the County Clerk’s Office or at monmouthcountyvotes.com.
This election is taking place at a critical and defining moment in the history of our democracy. We are all trying to stay safe, to protect ourselves and our families at a time of uncertainty about what the status of the virus will be on November 3. The best way to ensure that we have a safe election – and to make sure your vote is counted – is to vote early by mail.
But whether you decide to vote by mail or in-person, please vote.
If you have questions or need information you may call our District 11 Legislative office at (732) 695-3371 and a member of our team will assist you.