The 2020 Election is around the corner and like so many things in our lives these days, it will look very different.
For more than 200 years, through civil and world wars and disease, federal elections have taken place. And, except for the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, a midterm election year, during which the Democratic party under President Woodrow Wilson sought to maintain control of Congress, this country has never been faced with a crisis that comes close to resembling the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the continued high rate of transmission of the virus, in November 2020 every voter needs to have a plan to vote. What will your plan look like? The following will help guide you in making your plan.
• You can check at voter.svrs.nj.gov/registration-check or call 1-877-NJ-VOTER (1-877-658-6837); or download the NJ Elections Mobile App on Apple or Google Play.
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 13.
New Jersey recently launched the state’s first online voter registration tool. The online platform allows a voter to provide their voter registration information electronically. If you decide to register online, visit voter.svrs.nj.gov/register.
You will need your date of birth and one of the following forms of identification:
• A current and valid driver’s license or Identification Card issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
• A Social Security number.
If you decide to register by paper, you can download the form at nj.gov/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml#vrf and send it to the County Commissioner of Registration. The address is on the paper form.
• All active registered voters in New Jersey will automatically receive their ballots in the mail, at the address where the voter is registered.
• Once received, your paper ballot must be filled out, signed, sealed and returned.
You have four options:
• Mail it: If you mail your ballot, it MUST be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and be received by your county’s board of elections on or before Nov. 10.
• Use a ballot drop box: Every county in New Jersey will have secure ballot drop boxes that will be open until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. You can find yours here: nj.gov/state/elections/vote-secure-drop-boxes.shtml.
• Drop it off at a board of election office: You can deliver your ballot in person to your county’s board of elections office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020.
• Visit a polling place: You can bring your ballot to your polling place by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
What if I decide to vote in person?
Due to the ongoing risk of exposure to and spread of the COVID-19 virus, while provisional paper ballots can be cast in person on Election Day, Nov. 3, the election is being conducted primarily with vote-by-mail ballots.
Because of this shift, there will be at least one polling place in each municipality in the state, and each county will operate at least 50% of its normal polling location capacity.
It is important that you check with your local government to identify where you should go to vote as some locations may be changed. You can also visit this website to find your polling location: nj.gov/state/elections/vote-polling-location.shtml.
Accommodations will be made for voters with disabilities.
If you choose in person voting, mask up and be safe.
You can track and check your status of your ballot at nj.gov/state/elections/vote-track-my-ballot.shtml.