New Jersey election: dates, polling places, deadlines, ballot boxes
Voters in the Garden State have less than a week to go until New Jersey 2021 General Election. Here is what you need to know to make your voice heard.
Election Day in New Jersey is fast approaching and unlike 2020 residents have more ways to cast their ballot. This year voters in the Garden State have three ways they can cast their votes. Besides showing up in person on Election Day 2 November 2021, voters can cast a ballot in person during the early voting period for the first time or use a mail-in ballot.
The governorship and all 120 members of the New Jersey State Legislature are up for re-election in 2021. Voters will decide whether Governor Phil Murphy will keep his post or give the to one of the four other gubernatorial candidates. The make-up of the state General Assembly and Senate will also be at stake as well as deciding if gambling on college sports will be allowed. Here’s how and where to make your voice heard.
What you need to vote in the 2021 New Jersey General Election
First an foremost voters need to be registered to vote in New Jersey prior to Election Day. In 2021, the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming General election was 12 October. Those who are 17 years old can register to vote but must be 18 years old on Election Day to cast a ballot. In order to register to vote in New Jersey you must be a US citizen and resident of the state and county where you will vote for at least 30 days before the election.
Unfortunately voters in New Jersey don’t have the option of same-day voter registration. Although Governor Murphy has pushed for the measure there is too much opposition in the Senate. Even if you missed the deadline don’t wait for the next election to get registered, why save for tomorrow what you can do today.
Those who are convicted of a felony and currently serving a sentence may not vote in New Jersey elections.
If you are registered to vote, you will need to cast your ballot either by mail or in person by 8 pm 2 November 2021. New Jersey doesn’t require voters to present ID at the polls in most cases. However, if you didn’t provide ID when you registered to vote you must present valid identification at the polling location.
If a voter’s eligibility can’t be confirmed at the polling location they will be given a provisional ballot to cast. After the election if it is determined that voter was eligible to vote the ballot will be counted.
Those who wish to avoid lines at the polls or are worried about covid-19 and want to maintain social distancing you have the option of mail-in voting. The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot by mail is 26 October and in person 1 November by 3 pm. You can have the ballot sent to you or pick it up at your local county’s Board of Elections office. If you are already registered and requested a ballot you most likely should have received it, election officials began sending them 18 September.
You must mail your ballot, deposit it in one of the secure drop box locations around the state or turn it in at your county’s Board of Elections office before 8 pm 2 November 2021. If you mail in your ballot, it must be received by your county’s Board of Elections no later than 8 November.
If you received your mail-in-ballot but change your mind and wish to vote in person without having mailed or dropped off your mail-in ballot, be aware that you will be given a provisional ballot at the polling location where you go to vote in person.
Early in-person voting
2021 is the first year that voters in the state can cast a ballot prior to Election Day. A bill enacted in March gave New Jerseyites a nine-day window to cast their ballot at their convenience without an appointment. Early voting in 2021 is between Saturday 23 October and Sunday 31 October.
Early voting polling locations are open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm. Voters can go to any early voting location in the county where they are registered to cast their ballot, but on Election Day they will have to go to the polling location assigned to them in their precinct.
Election Day in-person voting
The final option voters have available to them for voicing their decision in the 2021 General Elections is to show up at their assigned voting location on Election Day. You can find your assigned polling place on the state Division of Elections website using your address. Locations open at 6 am and close at 8 pm on Election Day 2 November 2021.
For more information check out the New Jersey voter information portal.