How to Be a Clean Water Voter in New Jersey in 2020
You’ve done your research. You’ve studied Clean Water Action’s Congressional Scorecard and read up on our endorsed candidates. You are ready to vote! But wait… how will the November 3rd, 2020 election work in New Jersey? It’s going to look a lot different than past years, but there are LOTS of ways to participate in democracy in New Jersey this year that are secure AND Covid-safe. We broke it down for you!
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 177 declaring that the November 3rd General Election in New Jersey will be primarily a vote-by-mail election. So what does that mean for NJ voters?
The most important change for this election is that all “active” registered voters will automatically be sent a vote-by-mail ballot. The County Clerks have a deadline of October 5th to send them out. There is no need to request one. So, step one of voting in the November 3rd election is confirming that you are registered to vote. The deadline to register for the November 3rd election is October 13th, but don’t delay! Confirm your registration right now.
Not sure if you are registered? Click HERE to check
Need to register? New Jersey now offers online voter registration! Click HERE to register to vote.
Now that you’ve confirmed your registration, you need to make a plan for how you and your family will vote! You have a few options this election.
You can bring your completed vote-by-mail ballot to a secure ballot drop box in YOUR COUNTY as soon as you fill it out. No need to wait until Election Day. This method does not rely on the post office for delivery. You will be notified of the locations of the secure drop boxes via an informational mailing from your County Clerk/Board of Elections which will be sent no later than October 23rd. Some counties, such as Essex and Sussex, have already announced their drop box locations on their County Clerk’s websites. The deadline to place a ballot in a secure ballot drop box is 8pm on Election Day. Make sure you use a drop box in the county in which you are registered to vote.
You can mail your vote-by-mail ballot! Your vote-by-mail ballot comes with a prepaid First-Class postage return envelope. No need for a stamp. If you plan to use the mail, then make sure you send your ballot as soon as possible so that it makes it in on time to be counted. Your ballot must be postmarked by November 3rd, and properly postmarked ballots must be received by November 10th, but don’t delay! Mail it in early.
You can deliver your vote-by-mail ballot in person to your county’s Board of Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on November 3.
You can return your vote-by-mail ballot at your designated polling place on Election Day. The polls will be open from 6am to 8pm. Please note that due to the pandemic, not all polling places will be open for the November 3rd election, so you may need to go somewhere different than your normal polling location. You will receive an informational mailer listing your updated polling location that your County Clerk/Board of Elections must mail out no later than October 23rd.
If you do not return your vote-by-mail ballot, you can vote in person at your designated polling place on Election Day. At your polling place, you will be given a paper provisional ballot to vote. (Accommodations will be made for voters with disabilities.) Your provisional ballot will still be counted assuming you did not also vote by mail. The polls will be open from 6am to 8pm. Please note that due to the pandemic, not all polling places will be open for the November 3rd election, so you may need to go somewhere different than your normal polling location. You will receive an informational mailer listing your updated polling location that your County Clerk/Board of Elections must mail out no later than October 23rd.
To ensure that your ballot is counted, you can track it! There is a barcode on the back of your vote-by-mail return envelope. The ID number above the barcode is your Voter ID number. You can use it to make sure your ballot was counted. This actually lists your whole election participation history and is a pretty cool website.
If you have other questions, check out your County Clerk’s website or your county’s Board of Elections or visit the state’s Voter Information Portal. This year’s general election will be different, but your vote will still be counted. Make a plan RIGHT NOW for how you will vote this year. Let’s make sure New Jersey sends a strong message to the rest of the country that we support clean water, clean air, and clean, renewable energy. The future of our planet is on the ballot this election. VOTE!